Healthy and kid-friendly do not always seem to go together. However, these two can definitely mesh if you consider what foods appeal to kids and then tweak them to include healthier options. Fish sticks with whole wheat breading or high-protein nachos are just a couple of examples of how you can turn ordinary kid-appealing foods but unhealthy foods into healthier alternatives that your child will eat.
Fish provide a lean protein source and many fish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that are excellent for your health. Fish sticks are a sneaky and yummy way to get this healthy food into your kids. Instead of store-bought fish sticks, why not make your own with this recipe from Eating Well.com:
Put 1 cup of dry whole wheat breadcrumbs,
1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs,
1 cup whole grain cereal flakes,
1 teaspoon of lemon pepper,
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder,
1/2 teaspoon of paprika and
1/4 teaspoon of salt in a food processor and process until it turns into a finely ground mixture.
Transfer this mixture into a shallow plate. In another shallow plate, put 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, and, in a third shallow plate, put two large beaten egg whites. Take 1 pound of tilapia filets cut into small strips and dip it into the flour mixture covering the fish completely. Then, dip the strips into the egg mixture and, finally, the breadcrumb mixture. Coat the breaded fish with cooking spray and bake in a 450-degree oven about 10 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Nachos are a kid-friendly (and favorite) dinner option that is easy to prepare and can be prepared in a healthy way. In this recipe, black beans and chicken provide good sources of protein and unnecessary saturated fats like sour cream are eliminated.
Spray a baking pan with cooking spray. Layer tortilla chips onto the pan. Then layer:
1 cup of canned black beans,
1 cup cooked chicken strips,
1/2 cup of reduced-fat cheese of your choice and
1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes.
Pop it into a 350-degree oven until cheese is bubbly.
Burgers and Fries
Burgers and fries definitely appeal to kids. Skip the fast-food type burger and fries and make healthier versions at home. Pull out the grill and enjoy a good old family barbecue burger dinner.
Grill some vegetarian meatless-type burgers and sandwich them between two whole wheat buns. Lay out healthy burger accessories like lettuce, tomato, avocado and reduced-fat cheddar cheese for the kids to choose from. Do not forget about ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise as well. Serve with sweet potato fries for a healthier step up from traditional fries.