Simple Healthy Recipes for Kids
Let me start first by saying I'm REALLY not the healthiest eater. On my personal food pyramid, milkshakes and ice cream have their very own category alongside cookies and cake. Still, despite my healthy eating flaws, my son's nutrition is still one of my biggest concerns as a parent and something I take pretty seriously.
The problem, I have never been much of a cook and I am extremely busy so there just isn't enough time in the day for me to say make my own mozzarella cheese, or grow my own vegetables. This, I imagine, is probably a problem for most busy parents.
It's easy to rely on Chef Boyardee or freezer meals to satisfy your children's hunger--but is that the best choice in terms of their nutrition? Definitely not.
So here are some fun, quick, delicious snack and meal ideas to help your kids get the nutrients they need without too much thought or prep time.
I also have some other recipes in my Hub on Healthy Yogurt Recipes.
I will update this Hub as I come across and come up with more yummy healthy recipes for the little ones.
5 Major Food Groups
Recently the USDA traded in their food pyramid for a less confusing plate graphic. The plate depicts Vegetables and Grains taking up little more than half the plate and Fruits and Proteins diving the remainder equally, with Dairy in a glass on the side. I, personally, like this change. Not only is it a lot simpler, it also makes it easier to visualize what every meal I eat should look like.
The most important thing you should think of when planning your meals and eating throughout the day is to keep your foods varied. Too much of anything is never a good idea!
2 Minute Snacks
Here are some super quick snack ideas for when you're on the go or just need something to eat ASAP (my son has been known to throw tantrums when hungry). These are just a few snack suggestions. The possibilities are endless. These snacks may seem simple, but they help assure your child's diet is filled with variety and touches on the five major food groups; Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, Proteins, and Dairy.
- Cereal with milk and fresh fruit and/or berries
- Crackers with cheese or peanut butter
- Wheat toast with peanut butter or jam OR a simple PB&J sandwich
- Popcorn with grated cheese
- Oatmeal raisin cookies with milk
- Celery with peanut butter and raisins
- Broccoli, cauliflower, carrot sticks, celery, and/or bell peppers with cottage cheese
- Apples and peanut butter or cheese
- Banana and peanut butter on wheat bread
- Peaches and yogurt
- Trail mix; cereal (like cheerios), raisins, nuts, and yogurt drops
- Beans with nachos and cheese
- Granola mixed in yogurt with honey and raisins
- Avocado, tomato, and baby spinach with squeezed lemon and pepper
- Mozarella cheese with tomato and baby spinach
- Hard cheese with honey
- Avocado with lemon, salt, and pepper
- Oatmeal and Raisins
SMART's Homemade Granola
Here is a Recipe featured in SMART's e-cookbook
This delicious granola is great for a snack on the go or at breakfast time with some yogurt. Everyone at SMART is absolutely in love with the stuff! This is definitely a snack you'll enjoy as much as your kids do.
- 3 cups Old-fashioned Rolled Oats, (not instant)
- 3/4 cup Almonds/Walnuts (optional: Cashews), Sliced or Slivered
- 1/2 cup Raw Sunflower Seeds
- 1/2 cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon Wheat Germ, (optional)
- 1/2 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 2 tablespoons Canola Oil
- 1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup or Honey, (preferably Grade A Dark Amber)
- 1 cup Dried Fruits of your choice (i.e. Cranberries, Raisins, Dates, Figs, Apricots, etc.), (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and place rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, nuts, seeds, wheat germ (optional), ground cinnamon, and salt.
- In a small bowl, stir together the oil, and maple syrup (or honey).
- Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and toss together, making sure all the dry ingredients are coated with the liquid.
- Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 20 - 30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally so the mixture browns evenly. (The browner the granola gets, without burning, the crunchier the granola will be.)
- Place on a wire rack to cool. You will notice that the granola may still be sticky when it is removed from the oven but it will become crisp and dry as it cools. Make sure to break up any large clumps of granola while the mixture is still warm.
- Once the granola has completely cooled, store in an airtight container or plastic bag in.
Rather than buy and heat up freezer pizzas or pizza snacks try out these fun personal pizzas. Juju loves eating these for lunch and it's a great way to sneak veggies to my hubby (or any picky eater in your home haha).
Small Whole Wheat Tortillas (you can also use flat bread bagels and pita bread)
Plain Pasta Sauce
Pizza toppings of your choice (try and sneak in some more vegetables, like Peppers, Artichokes, Onions, etc.)
Directions for Microwave
- Lay tortilla on microwave safe plate.
- Brush with olive oil. (optional)
- Spread 1 teaspoon (or less) of sauce on tortilla.
- Sprinkle with cheese and add toppings.
- Put in oven for 2 and 1/2 minutes.
- Let sit for about a minute before eating.
Directions for Oven
- Preheat oven to 275(F).
- Lay your tortillas out on a cookie sheet and brush with olive oil.
- Spread 1 teaspoon (or less) of pasta sauce on each tortilla.
- Sprinkle grated cheese on top and add toppings if desired.
- Cook in oven for 5 - 10 minutes.
- Remove and let cool for about 2 minutes before eating.
Here's another take on the tortilla pizza that's both fun to make and super yummy.
Flat bread Bagels or Pita Bread
Plain Yogurt or Greek Yogurt
Sliced Fruit & Berries
Lay Pita Bread or half a bagel on a plate.
Spread yogurt over bread.
Add desired toppings and enjoy.
The Monkey Wrap
This recipe comes from my college days at, St. Lawrence University. I'm not sure if I make it exactly as I do, but I can remember hoarding them whenever they were the "Wrap of the Day." My son is still a bit too young to enjoy this because of the peanut butter and honey, but I'm sure it'll be one of his favorites when he's a little older.
It goes especially well with a glass of milk yummm.
1 Banana, chopped
1 Green Apple, chopped
1 whole Graham Cracker, crumbled
2 tablespoons Peanut Butter
2 teaspoons Honey
1 Whole Wheat Tortilla Wrap
- Lay your tortilla out on a plate or cutting board.
- Spread peanut butter on the lower half of your tortilla.
- Sprinkle graham cracker crumbles over peanut butter.
- Add your desired amount of apples and bananas.
- Drizzle honey over over the other ingredients.
- Fold bottom part of the tortilla over the ingredients, fold in sides, then roll wrap closed. Cut the wrap in half at a diagonal and enjoy.
This is a sweet treat you can use to replace candy. Make flavored yogurt drops or use plain or vanilla yogurt to coat raisins and berries.
Fruit flavored yogurt
Berry/Raisin Yogurt Drops
Blueberries or Raisins (or experiment with some other type of berry)
- Fill ziplock snack bag with yogurt and cut tip.
- Squeeze out drops of yogurt on a plate.
- Freeze overnight.
- Dip raisins or berries in yogurt and spread out on a plate.
- Freeze overnight.
Frozen Yogurt Fruit Pops
For any of you ice cream addicts like me, this is a nice substitute. The only special thing you need is a ice pop tray.
Sliced fruit; try peaches, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and kiwi.
Don't have an ice pop tray? Try this instead!
Put sliced fruits and berries in a waffle cone and top with plain yogurt.
- Mix ingredients in ice pop tray.
- Freeze overnight and enjoy.
Here's another take on a peanut butter banana sandwich that the kids will have fun eating.
Hot Dog Bun
Strawberry Jam (optional)
- Spread peanut butter on either side of hot dog bun.
- Peel banana and place in hot dog bun.
- Add jam if desired.
Here's another fun take on a sandwich favorite that will keep things interesting.
Granola or Oats
- Slice apple in thick enough slices that it will hold up the other ingredients.
- Spread peanut butter on one side of an apple slice.
- Sprinkle raisins and granola or oats on top of peanut butter.
- Lay and slice of apple on top and eat up!
Tacos without the taco shells? Really? Leafy lettuce can also be used to replace tortillas in sandwich wraps.
Head of Romaine Lettuce
- Break off whole leaves from your head of lettuce for taco shells.
- Add refried beans down the center of the lettuce.
- Top with sliced tomato, avocado, and cheese.
This is another recipe from SMART's e-cookbook.
As I mentioned before, milkshakes happen to be a staple in my diet (I'm pregnant right now so I can get away with it...at least for another two months haha). Smoothies and healthy shakes like these are a nice alternative to Stewart's.
Use tofu instead of or in addition to powdered milk for a richer shake.
1 large banana
2 tablespoons oat bran or wheat germ
1/2 cup peaches, pears or pineapple
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup strawberries
2 tablespoons powered nonfat milk
1 ½ cup skim milk, soy, or low fat milk
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
2. Drink immediately or refrigerate covered.
I made these almost every day when I was pregnant with Juju and I drank them a lot too at the beginning of my current pregnancy when I couldn't stomach anything else. They satisfy my milkshake cravings and Juju really enjoys having them too. My husband prefers them with milk or ice cream to yogurt, but when I make them without him seeing what I put into it I can usually get him to drink it with yogurt.
I'll also make these smoothies with banana, canned peaches, and a little apple juice.
Try making a smoothie that incorporates your favorite fruits.
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
1/4 cup Orange or Apple Juice
1 teaspoon Wheat Germ
2 tablespoons Honey or Agave
- Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Avocado Breakfast Sandwich
This is my take on this recipe from Rachel Ray. Both my son and I really like scrambled eggs and avocado so this was a big hit!
2 tablespoons Milk
Salt & Pepper
2 slices Wheat toast
1 teaspoon Butter
- Crack egg in a bowl and scramble with milk.
- Melt putter in a pan and add egg mixture. Scramble and add cheese at the very end.
- Mush avocado and spread on one slice of toast.
- Add eggs on top of avocado and sprinkle some salt and pepper on top.
- Cover sandwich with other slice of toast.
Banana Sandwich Cookies
Chocolate and bananas, how could anyone resist? I certainly can't, and this makes a nice substitute to candy bars.
- Slice banana.
- Spread nutella sparingly on banana slice.
- Top with another banana slice.
Make your own tortilla chips with your favorite seasonings. Use these for nachoes or enjoy on their own.
Create sweeter combinations by replacing olive oil with honey or agave. Try cinnamon and sugar, for example.
Your favorite seasonings
- Brush tortillas with olive oil.
- Cut into chip shapes (or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes) and place on cookie sheet.
- Sprinkle favorite seasonings over chips.
- Bake at 350(F) for 10 to 15 minutes or just until chips are crispy.
I first made these with my sister as an experiment after I tried some samples at Whole Foods. I know that there are more detailed recipes out there on how to make these, but this simple method worker perfectly for us.
Using a Misto to spray olive oil on the kale keeps the coverage light and prevents the olive oil from weighing down the Kale. I
- Put Kale on a cookie sheet and spray or brush with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with favorite seasoning but try not to over do it.
- Bake in oven at 350(F) for 5 minutes, turn over and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Take out and place on plate with paper towel to soak up extra oil.
Here are some sites I used as sources for this Hub and I think are worth checking out. Many have great information on nutrition, fitness, health, safety, and have more great recipes.
Here are some other great websites to find yummy healthy recipes:
You can also check out my Pinterest board on Healthy Snacks & Meals for more delicious and nutritious recipes both you and the kids will enjoy.