Using healthy recipes for kids is a great way to inspire kids to try new foods and to have a joyous family meal. Because you see, a family who eats together is more healthy!
The important benefits of eating together as a family have been widely recognised by medical professionals for generations.
However, with more parents working longer hours outside of the home in order to make ends meet in the current dire economic climate, many families spend less than 30 minutes quality time together a day, never mind have chance to eat together.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children who regularly eat their meals with the rest of the family are less likely to suffer from obesity, both as a child and an adult.
With this in mind I decided to seek out some healthy recipes for kids that we would also be able to enjoy as a family.
Fighting Tradition – Easy Snacks Don’t Have to Be Unhealthy
According to a piece by Harvard Medical School
, 30-percent of a child’s meals are frequently eaten outside of the home.
These meals are usually convenience foods that are high in fats and lacking in any real nutritional value.
This has been put down to the fact many parents don’t have the time to prepare something healthier – or at least so they think.
The truth is, many healthy recipes for kids are easy and quick to make, can be frozen for another time or even prepared by the children themselves if they are old enough.
List of Easy Snacks You Can Prepare in Advance … or Ask Older Children to Make
Apple Disk Delight – Example of Easy Recipes for Kids
Spread a little peanut butter on to slices of apple and top with a couple of pecan nuts.
This is among my favorite healthy recipes for kids and the family, because it is just as popular with my son as it is with me.
Crazy Crackers – Easy Snacks for Kids
Crackers, spread with peanut butter and topped with thin slices of banana.
This healthy snack is not only filling and tasty, it is packed full of nutrients that make ideal brain food for the kids. Again this is a recipe older kids can make for themselves and younger siblings.
While it was once thought children under the age of three should not eat nuts for fear of triggering an allergic reaction, paediatricians now recommend nuts for youngsters in moderation.
Funky Fruit and Veg Kebabs – Quick Healthy Snacks for Kids
The fruit and vegetable kebabs are so easy to make, my toddler has been known to get stuck in as well – under supervision of course.
Simply stick chunks of your kid’s favorite fruits, mine like apple, melon, strawberries and blackberries, on a kebab skew or a pretzel stick if you want to make the whole thing edible.
If I know it is going to be a busy day, I premake the kebabs and keep them in the fridge for my kid to grab after school.
There are so many healthy recipes for kids that you can transform yourself into easy snacks, many take minutes to make but pack a real nutritional punch.
Healthy Recipes for Kids to Fuel Their Creativity
Children are naturally creative, even if that creativity isn’t always expressed in an acceptable way – I am still trying to remove my son’s “pictures” from his bedroom wall!
Giving them a simple recipe to follow, allows them to prepare a meal or snack all by themselves.
Older children will have to read the recipe, but this is a game children of all ages can participate in.
For example – Spaghetti and sauce is an easy, healthy recipe the kids can make without too many problems.
Obviously, your supervision will be needed but this is a good way to give kids confidence in the kitchen. Measuring ingredients and reading recipes also helps them hone other skills, without it feeling like work.
Here is one of the easy recipes for kids where there is space to be creative and spontaneous:
Healthy Spaghetti Bolognaise for Kids
One of the nice healthy recipes for kids is something I encourage my son to help me make all the time.
Use the following ingredients;
- One packet of lean ground beef
- One can of chopped tomatoes
- A few tablespoons of tomato paste
- One tablespoon of paprika
- Two teaspoons of oregano
- One teaspoon of thyme
- Water with a bouillon cube
- One medium-sized chopped onion
- Two minced cloves of garlic
- Two minced carrots
- Half a squash
- Wholegrain spaghetti (enough for the family)
Ensure you fry of the beef and drain away any excess fat before allowing an older child to add the rest of the ingredients.
I usually let my son mix the other ingredients in a bowl before adding to the meat.
Allow the meat sauce to simmer on a medium heat for around 20 minutes while you cook the spaghetti.
Kids love breaking up spaghetti and it also ensures you have bite size pieces too. Once the spaghetti is cooked, add to the meat sauce and cook for a further ten minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Sprinkle each serving with parmesan cheese and serve.
Spaghetti Bolognaise with a Meatball Twist
Other healthy recipes for kids include baked meatballs, which uses the same ingredients as above but with a cup full of bulger wheat added to the meat to help bind your meatballs.
Your kids will love rolling the meatballs and baking them off in the oven for 20 minutes before adding to the tomato sauce will make an already healthy dish even healthier.
Cooking for Kids and With Kids – Top Tips
‘What’s For Dinner, Mum?’
Most parents will be familiar with this question, which is usually asked by the kids as soon as they walk in through the door from school.
Dinner is not only a chance for you to all meet up as a family to discuss the day’s events, it is also a chance for you to introduce cooking to your children so they can be involved in the whole process.
Before you invite your kids into the kitchen to help you cook, consider the tips below to ensure everything goes to plan.
- Age Appropriate Tasks – Even if the recipe you are cooking is a little more involved than usual, don’t let this put you off letting younger children help you out.
Toddlers make master mixers, my daughter loves stirring things together. Obviously, make sure nothing is hot and keep sharp utensils out of reach.
- Protection – Even the oldest of children can get messy in the kitchen, so ensure they have appropriate aprons to wear to protect their clothes. If you don’t have aprons, use old clothes or even adult-sized shirts.
- Educate – Letting your children get hands on in the kitchen is a good way to educate them on healthy eating.
Healthy recipes for kids are much more interesting and enjoyable if the children have helped you make them.
Encourage your children to ask questions and explain the different foods you are using and why it is good for them.
You will find that cooking for kids is not just enjoyable for them when they are helping out, but also you, as you get to spend quality time with them.
Just don’t worry about mess, that is inevitable when you mix cookery and children.
Kids Cooking Games – Play Around with Healthy Recipes for Kids
If you want to get your kids interested in nutrition, you could try encouraging them to play kids cooking games to make the whole thing more fun.
If your children are into their computer time, there are plenty of educational kids cooking games you can play online.
However, having younger children as well means I prefer the games to be more hands on in my house.
Decorate your Lunch Box – Fun Cooking for Kids
One of the more basic cooking games for kids, this creative game is ideal for young and older children alike.
Simply ask your kids to decorate their lunch box, if they don’t have an official lunch box you can use empty food containers.
Explain that once the lunch boxes have been decorated, they will get to fill them with healthy easy snacks they can enjoy in the garden.
Build a Tower Sandwich – Cool Kids Cooking Games
This one of kids cooking games is another that is good for all ages, although it sounds like it may only appeal to younger children, my eldest son is the champion in our house.
Every child starts off with two slices of wholegrain bread. Then, from a selection of sliced meat, cheese, fruits and vegetables, it is up to the child to build their own tower sandwich.
The golden rule of this game is the kids HAVE to eat the sandwich at the end of the game. This stops them from throwing a load of ingredients in to their sandwich for no reason other than to build the biggest one.
This game teaches children about taste combinations – offer a good variety of fruit, as well as vegetables and your children will learn that pear tastes nice with cheese or that apple complements pork.
How much you include about nutrition in your games is up to you and whether you believe your children will understand and learn anything from it.
Healthy Eating is more than Just Healthy Recipes for Kids
I have already mentioned above the importance of eating together as a family and how much of an impact it can have on your child’s view of food.
However, I haven’t mentioned how parents as individuals are just as important. According to an article in USAToday magazine, parents are important role models and key to the fight against childhood obesity.
Children learn many of their social and behavioral skills from their parents, meaning, among other things, whatever you eat they are likely to copy.
Preparing healthy recipes for kids will be a losing battle if they don’t see you eating healthy food too. Of course, sitting down as a family helps to combat this, as you will all get to eat the same thing, at the same time.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean never eating anything a little naughty ever again, in moderation a treat is a good reward for children who are accepting healthy options.
Simple Changes in Cooking Habits Have Great Impact on Healthy Eating for Kids
You can find a wealth of healthy recipes for kids and easy snacks for your children on the Internet.
However, many of your family’s favorite dishes will be okay to eat by simply switching a few ingredients for healthier options.
- Always buy lean cuts of meat – ground turkey has the least fat and any chicken you buy should always be skinless.
- Instead of heavy cream, use evaporated milk where possible – it may affect consistency in some dishes but rarely will affect the taste.
- Use olive oil when cooking instead of alternatives that are high in trans-fats. These are what make you food taste greasy and should be avoided in any recipes you make for your kids especially.
Whether you are interested in learning more about healthy recipes for kids or you are simply wanting to make some easy snacks for your kids to enjoy, don’t be afraid to try new things.
While most kids will turn their nose up at change at first, it is amazing what they will try if they see their parents eating it or you make preparing the meal fun.
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