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Kids Food

Updated on October 29, 2014

Healthy Foods Your Kids Will Love to Eat

I have a 4 year old. She needs to eat. I'd like her to eat nutritious foods. Did I mention she was four? :)

It really doesn't need to be difficult to get your kids to eat healthy foods. Sure, you'll have your power struggles at the dinner table from time to time, but overall kids are pretty suggestible with food.

Here are a few tips and recipes to get your kids eating right - and loving it!

Sesame Street Silly Snacks - Cooking with Kids

Sesame Street Silly Snacks: Cooking with Kids (Sesame Street (Publications International))
Sesame Street Silly Snacks: Cooking with Kids (Sesame Street (Publications International))

For children, seeing a muffin rise in the oven or fruit juice turn into a frozen pop is not only educational and entertaining, it's magical. Most kids love to cook, and they love to eat what they helped to make even more (yes, including veggies!).

Every recipe contains a step that allows kids to help. These are marked by a special icon and colored print. Most two-year-olds can help by arranging food on a baking sheet or washing produce, for example. Three and four-year-olds can stir or measure ingredients. You are the best judge of what your child can handle!

 

Make Kids Food Cute!

I have found that with my 3 year old daughter just renaming some foods with silly substitutes or cutting the "usuals" into cute shapes will get her interested and eating some different foods.

One of her dinners: Lilly Pads & Yam Yums :)

yam yums recipe

(I definitely suggest this as a dipping sauce - at least for the adults :)

The lily pads are essentially small spinach pancakes.

We got the ideas from the Sesame Street Silly Snacks Cookbook.

She asks for these daily.

Eat a Rainbow of Foods Every Day for Health

Eating a variety of foods is one of the best ways to ensure that you are getting the fullest range of nutrients in your diet. A fun way to help you and your family choose the right foods is to Eat a Rainbow - choose fresh fruits and vegetables from each color of a rainbow.

Find Healthy Alternatives

There are so many recipe sites on the web, and all of them include healthy options. I searched for "healthy chocolate chip cookies" and found the great recipe below. Food.com (formerly Recipezaar.com) is one of my favorite recipe sites; you can search by dietary needs, nutrition or even kid-friendly.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1 1/4 cups oats

  • 1/3 cup milk

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

  • 1 cup walnuts

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Combine dry ingredients

  2. Mix in olive oil, egg and milk

  3. Add spices and salt

  4. Add chocolate chips and nuts

  5. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes

Recipe adapted from Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe - Food.com

Add Fruit

Adding fruit to some of your existing meals is a pretty simple way to add essential nutrients to your kids' diet. It can be really cute, too.

Of course, we make our pancakes from scratch. :)

Ingredients

  • 1 egg

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 2 tablespoons margarine, melted

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Beat egg until fluffy.

  2. Add milk and melted margarine.

  3. Add dry ingredients and mix well.

  4. Heat a heavy griddle or fry pan which is greased with a little butter on a paper towel.

  5. The pan is hot enough when a drop of water breaks into several smaller balls which 'dance' around the pan.

  6. Pour a small amount of batter (approx 1/4 cup) into pan and tip to spread out or spread with spoon.

  7. When bubbles appear on surface and begin to break, turn over and cook the other side.

Highly rated recipe from Pancakes Recipe - Food.com

Let Them Make It

Healthy Mini Pizza

For dinner, Syna and I made some healthy mini pizzas. For the crust we used those new Arnold's whole wheat sandwich thins; we then spooned on some pizza sauce, layered baby spinach over that, added some shredded mozzarella cheese, and topped it off with fresh broccoli, black olives & mushrooms. It took 20 minutes in the toaster oven at 350° F to melt the cheese, cook the veggies and get all toasty. Mmmm...

We stopped by the grocery store salad bar for the toppings so that there wouldn't be a ton of leftover random veggies - and I was feeling lazy. :)

Syna's Treats - Healthy cooking for kids

Swap Ingredients

Sometimes, you can just pull the ol' switcheroo with ingredients. Swap out the milk, cream, sugar and eggs for a frozen banana, and you've got yourself an awesome healthy treat.

Banana Ice Cream

OK, this is an amazing treat. When your bananas look a bit dark and are just too ripe to enjoy fresh, cut 'em up into bite sized pieces and throw them in the freezer. When you're ready for a delicious dessert, put the pieces in a blender or food processor and blend until you get a creamy consistency. You've got ice cream! It's so tasty, simple and healthy. A little less so when you make your own chocolate topping with Ghirardelli's 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips, a touch of sugar and cream (all melted together quickly on the stove top). :)

Add Pureed Vegetables

Similarly to adding fruit, you can add some vegetable nutrients by pureeing some of the powerhouse veggies and putting them right into your standard recipes. My only caution with this would be to NOT do it on the sneak; let your kids know the veggies are in there so they can appreciate and try new foods.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 pinch clove

  • 1 cup milk

  • 6 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

  • 1 egg
Directions

  1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt in a bowl.

  2. In a separate bowl whisk together milk, pumpkin, melted butter, and egg.

  3. Fold mixture into dry ingredients.

  4. Spray or grease a skillet and heat over medium heat: pour in 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.

  5. Cook pancakes about 3 minutes per side. Serve with butter and syrup.

  6. Makes about six 6-inch pancakes.

Recipe via Light And Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe - Food.com

Just Mix Up Their Favorites

Syna loves bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, olives and cheese, so I found this recipe for Panzanella (Italian bread salad) that combines them all!

Panzanella

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

  • 3 cups large cubes country bread (5 to 6 ounces)

  • 1 pound plum tomatoes, cut into small pieces

  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise

  • 1/4 medium red onion, very thinly sliced

  • 4 ounces provolone cheese in one piece, diced

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil; season with salt and pepper.

  2. Add beans, bread, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and cheese. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, and up to 8 hours. Just before serving, stir in basil.

Recipe via Italian Panzanella Recipe - MarthaStewart.com

Make Your Kids Sing for Food! - Just kidding...

But a song sure can make eating fun. :)

Eco-Friendly Waste Free Lunch Kit

Kids Konserve Signature Waste-Free Lunch Kit
Kids Konserve Signature Waste-Free Lunch Kit

Get back to basics with our version of the good ol' brown paper bag. Use for packing school lunches, picnics or on the go snacks. Use entire kit or the individual components of the kit in your own lunch boxes. Great gift idea. Includes recycled cotton lunch sack, stainless steel bottle and lid, round food containers and lids, re-usable napkin, reusable food kozy.

 

Full disclosure: we're vegetarian, so Syna doesn't have a choice. However, what we've learned from that is that if you start kids young, you'll find them more interested in healthier options as they grow up. Oh, and be a good example. :)

How do you get your kids to eat healthy foods?

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    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 4 years ago

      Thank you for healthy AND cute food recipes

    • beckwong profile image

      beckwong 6 years ago

      Thanks for the recipe! Gonna try it even I don't have any kids yet!

    • Yourshowman LM profile image

      Yourshowman LM 7 years ago

      Tasty Lens.

      Gonna Try It.

    • profile image

      calmkoala 7 years ago

      This article proves that 'healthy' food doesn't have to be boring... as my kids used to tell me! I especially like the Lilly Pads & Yam Yums. I have a feeling that I shall be trying these - purely for 'research' purposes!

    • profile image

      NealBeam 7 years ago

      I have 5 kids and it can always be a chore getting them to eat! I will defenatly try some of these ideas!

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      This is one of the best kids' food articles that I have ever seen. So creative and fun AND healthy. I am really impressed. Sometimes us adults like fun healthy food too. :)

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      Lots of great ideas! Would you believe I still make my son's pancakes into shapes and use fruit to make faces. LOL, he is 20. Of course, I also make mouse shaped pancakes for my husband.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      What a wonderful collection of ideas. My youngest is 16 now, so some of these methods may not be so effective with my children. However they are good at eating their veggies :-)

    • profile image

      Tarra99 7 years ago

      Great ideas here! I love the fruit in the pancakes!Thanks for sharing and thanks for visiting my digital collage sheet lens...I appreciate your comments!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 7 years ago

      Wonderfully presented Heather. Betcha' I'm keeping your tips in mind for when I am blessed with grands ;) Precious little singer on the vids!

    • profile image

      enslavedbyfaeries 7 years ago

      As always, I love your healthy tips and recipes. The Lilly Pads & Yam Yums are genius! Thank you for featuring my bento lens here. :D

    • stacy mcdaniel profile image

      stacy mcdaniel 7 years ago

      My son is a picky eater. Thanks for sharing these cute ideas.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Fun ideas

    • mistyriver profile image

      mistyriver 7 years ago

      These are some cute ideas!

    • The-Java-Gal profile image

      The-Java-Gal 7 years ago

      Loved "how Syna eats her veggies." Great lens on a very important subject. We are living in a time when baby boomers are looking to live to the ripe old age of 120, while authorities are suggesting that this current generation of children may die before their parents at around age 40. It is so important to keep our kids on a healthier path.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks for these fun suggestions...I need them. I'm vegan but my son is 90% vegetarian and a really picky eater when it comes to eating fruit. I'm always looking for ways to make healthy eating FUN. Thanks for a great lens!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Great ideas.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 7 years ago from Canada

      I love it - what a wonderful job you did on this often very scary subject...... I have 3 little grandkids and know how hard a job mealtime is.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Thanks for suggesting these healthy recipes for kids! They look like fun!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      My kids were fairly good eaters, so we didn't have a lot of problems. I want you to come to my house and cook for me, though. Your kid foods are so cute!

    • profile image

      marsha32 7 years ago

      cute stuff

      I have one granddaughter that is super super picky. None of my 4 children really were.