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Healthy Dinner for Kids

Updated on January 30, 2013
Baked Crusted Chicken
Baked Crusted Chicken | Source

The Importance of Eating Healthy

Feeding our bodies the fuel it needs to perform is important for all of us but, it is especially crucial for children and teenagers.

Their bodies and brains are growing and developing at an enormous rate. If kids don’t have the nutrients they need to grow strong they will be weak, it’s that simple.

Lack of nutrition during this crucial time of development will set them up for a life time of health issues and fragility.

They are building the only body they will ever have.

A lack of essential nutrition has been linked to behavior issues, concentration difficulties and learning abilities.

A Fresh Start

It’s every parents wish that their kids grow to be healthy and happy. No one wants their children to be teased at school for being overweight or see their son or daughter miss out on activities simply because they don’t have the energy or stamina to keep up with their peers.

Sometimes it is difficult to know where to start or what to do.

The meal suggestions proposed here are an attempt to eliminate the separation between kid food and adult food.

There are many ways to make nutritious foods appealing to kids of all ages.

This or That?

It is possible to get kids to eat a lot less calories and a lot more nutrition with some really simple substitutions.

A few examples are:

Have You Tried the Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins?

5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins

Wheat Buns

Replace regular hamburger buns with whole wheat buns or whole wheat sandwich thins:

Regular hamburger buns have 180 calories and simple carbohydrates that the body turns to sugar and burns up quickly.

Whole wheat sandwich thins have 100 calories and 22 grams of whole grains. This option provides complex carbohydrates so they burn slower and more even.

Tortillas

Use Medium sized whole wheat tortillas instead of large flour tortillas

One large flour tortilla has 200 calories and one medium whole wheat tortilla has 130 calories.

Making a soft taco or wrap with a large flour tortilla is simply too much for one serving. A better option would be to make the same taco or wrap using a medium sized whole wheat tortilla and serving fresh fruit or carrot sticks on the side.

Turkey Pepperoni

Substitute turkey pepperoni for original pepperoni when making pizza and sauces.

Original pepperoni slices have 140 calories per 14 slice serving.

Turkey pepperoni has 70 calories per 17 slice serving.

Burgers

Use turkey burger patties in the place of ground beef patties.

100% ground beef hamburger patties contain 240 calories and 150 calories from fat, whereas turkey burgers have 200 calories per patty and 50 calories from fat.

The significantly lower amount of fat in the turkey burger patty really shows after it is cooked. The ground beef patty shrinks to ¾ its original size and the turkey burger is virtually unchanged. The taste is amazing and the patties are very juicy.

Grilled Chicken Burger Ingredients
Grilled Chicken Burger Ingredients | Source
Grilled Chicken Burger with Chipotle Aioli on a Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin
Grilled Chicken Burger with Chipotle Aioli on a Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin | Source

Chicken

Replace frozen breaded chicken patties and strips with fresh grilled chicken breasts.

Grilled chicken is a perfect substitute for any dish that uses breaded patties. Chicken burgers, chicken wraps, chicken salad or simply cut them into strips and dip in ketchup or ranch.

Chipolte Aioli

Chipotle sauce is a tasty and healthy alternative to regular hamburger condiments. The bold and tangy flavor will replace mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard. Using 1 tablespoon of this unique sauce is enough to add a wonderful flavor to turkey burgers, chicken and fish.

Chipotle aioli

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

Healthier Recipes

There are endless healthier food combinations and recipes that are great for kids and adults to share. These are just a few suggestions that show kids they can still eat what they love while getting what they need.

Pizza Ingredients
Pizza Ingredients | Source
Cooked Pizza
Cooked Pizza | Source

Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 12 inch whole wheat pizza crust
  • ¼ cup pizza sauce
  • 20 turkey pepperoni slices
  • ½ cup roast chicken pieces
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Lightly brush the whole wheat crust with olive oil or safflower oil
  3. Spread the pizza sauce on the crust, add suggested toppings or make your own creation
  4. Bake for 11-13 minutes

Nutritional Info

  • Servings Per Recipe: 8
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 165.0
  • Total Fat: 9.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 19.1 mg
  • Sodium: 517.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 20.0 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3.7 g
  • Protein: 11.3 g

Baked Chicken Ingredients with Crumbs
Baked Chicken Ingredients with Crumbs | Source
Baked Crusted Chicken
Baked Crusted Chicken | Source

Baked Crusted Chicken

This is a great substitute for frozen or fried chicken nuggets! These have a wonderful flavor and can be stored in the refrigerator for left overs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of skinless chicken breast
  • 6 cups of French fried onions
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut chicken breast into strips or nugget shapes
  3. Put French fried onions in a large sealable bag and smash into crumbs
  4. Beat two eggs in medium bowl
  5. Dip chicken strips into eggs then cover with crumbs
  6. Press crumbs into chicken with fingers to assure it will stick while cooking
  7. Lay the coated chicken strips on a lined baking sheet
  8. Bake for 15 minutes without turning

Nutritional Info

  • Servings Per Recipe: 4
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 217.0
  • Total Fat: 121.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 56.5 mg
  • Sodium: 269.0 mg
  • Total Carbs: 12.0 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
  • Protein: 5.7 g

Sloppy Joe's Ingredients
Sloppy Joe's Ingredients | Source
Sloppy Joe with fruit
Sloppy Joe with fruit | Source

Sloppy Joes

Homemade Sloppy Joes taste amazing and are free from preservatives and artificial bi-products.

When these are served on a whole wheat sandwich thin instead of a traditional bun, it’s a win-win. Kids are happy they get don’t have to miss out on one of their favorite meals and parents are happy because they know their kids are eating good fuel.

Store bought Sloppy Joe mix served on a hamburger bun is 480 calories, homemade Sloppy Joe’s served on a whole wheat sandwich thin is 356 calories.

Ingredients and Directions For Sloppy Joes

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 large garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1/3 cup of organic ketchup
  • ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Cook ground turkey until browned and crumbly and remove the cooked ground turkey from the pan.
  2. Put diced onions and diced garlic cloves into the pan and cook until soft
  3. Add tomato paste, beef broth, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and spices to the onion and garlic mixture
  4. Return the cooked turkey to the pan and bring to a boil
  5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes
  6. Scoop 1/3 cup onto a whole wheat sandwich thin and enjoy

Nutritional Info

  • Servings Per Recipe: 8
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 356.0
  • Total Fat: 12.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 84.1 mg
  • Sodium: 820.2 mg
  • Total Carbs: 34.7 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 7.1 g
  • Protein: 30.2 g

Portion Control

Even healthy meals can be overdone. It is so important to be aware of the serving amounts.

Portion control can dramatically improve how a person feels, looks and enjoys their life.

Small changes in food choices can make a huge difference!

Comments

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    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      You really did put a lot of effort on this hub. Great job!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Roxanne....thanks for this wonderful hub and helpful advice. My grandchildren drive me nutty! They are such "picky" eaters and I worry about their nutrition.

      When I raised my boys.....they were fairly accepting of what I would offer them in terms of meals........with a few exceptions. My attitude was, "Here's what your mother made you......eat or starve, whichever you prefer."

      Grandmother's, however, have an entirely different approach to things. We'll leave it at that, before I admit to being a total pushover. Up++

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 4 years ago from Washington

      Thank you unknown spy! This was a fun one for me ;)

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 4 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Loads of really sensible and appealing ideas and really helpful to have the calorie comparisons for each option.

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 4 years ago from Washington

      Grandmother's aren't pushovers, they are just A LOT more patient. That's the ways it's supposed to be right? :) There is no doubt in my mind that your grandkids are the luckiest grandkids ever!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Awwww...how Sweet you are!! You know, I've been known to adopt and since I'm over run with boys, another girl is always a treat!!!

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      You did a fantastic job with this hub! We do many of the things you suggested because I'm a diabetic and do not want my kids to to have to endure diabetes. Voted up awesome and shared! Kelley

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 4 years ago from Washington

      That is so smart. Your kids are very lucky and will thank you for years to come!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I have taken to eating those slim 100% wheat buns as well. I think they are a winner for all the sandwiches kids have. Loved your options to those unhealthy fried foods. Well done!

    • mom4autism profile image

      Lisa 4 years ago from Northeast U.S.

      Great ideas thank you. I have tried some of these changes and they do work - look forward to reading more from you. Voted up and following!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 4 years ago from Washington

      Thank you mom4autism! I also have a son on the spectrum and I am looking forward to following your journey and learning anything I can! :)

    • myownlife profile image

      myownlife 4 years ago from london

      Great, Thanks for giving us the recipe of healthy food, Great

      Cheers

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

      Everything here looks so good! How could a kid resist these great meals? For that matter, I can't resist them, either - you've listed many of my favorite things! Voted up and up!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Not only good for kids but grown ups too! Its a sad world here, where my grandchildren eat healthier than we do...most of the time. The recipes you've listed are good and easy and I can envision everyone eating them!

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 4 years ago from Washington

      Thank you tillsontitan! Believe me, I enjoy them just as much as the kids ;)

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 4 years ago from Northern California

      It's almost like our kitchens are the same! We have many of these ideas in our dinner options and both of our kids love them.

      Truth be told that our daughter chooses to make homemade pizza every year on her birthday.

      Voted up and useful

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 4 years ago from Washington

      Sounds like you have a smart girl there! Nothing is quite like a pizza made yourself :)

    • profile image

      Jeanne 2 years ago

      Arieclts like this make life so much simpler.

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