5 Easy Healthy Recipes for Kids

A lot of your eating habits were inherited from your parents.

Some, for instance, were genetic. Your ability to enjoy Brussels sprouts was largely determined by your genes. The same goes with cilantro.

 

Others, though, were passed down from your parents by their behaviors.

The fact is, a huge portion of a child’s eating habits – many of which will follow them into adulthood – are learned from watching what their parents do.

As a parent, there’s probably a lot of pressure on you already to make sure your children grow up healthy and well-rounded.

Raising a healthy child doesn’t just mean staying on top of their doctor’s appointments, though. It also includes making sure they develop healthy eating habits while they’re young.

One way you can help teach your children that eating right is enjoyable is to show them how delicious healthy meals can be. Introduce them to new foods while they’re young to help train their taste buds to enjoy them.

While this may seem complicated, especially if you have a finicky eater, it’s really not. There are a few things you can do to help facilitate this, though.

For instance, you can get them started on a healthy lifestyle by letting your kids join you when you do your grocery shopping.

By letting them help pick out the food at the grocery store, they’ll be more excited about eating it when dinner time rolls around.

Let them get involved with you in the kitchen, too. Allow them to do simple things, like tear up lettuce for a salad or rinse off fresh fruit for dessert. These habits and quitting sugar can prep your child for healthier habits.

Of course, you also want to make sure you have a few yummy and easy recipes up your sleeve. When dinner needs to be on the table in a jiffy, you want to make sure you have something you can whip up in no time.

That way, you can have a nutrient-packed, kid-friendly meal on the table, without caving into the temptation of a kid’s fast-food meal at the drive-thru.

If you’re looking to teach your child how to develop healthy eating habits that’ll help carry them through life, here are five simple and yummy recipes that you can prepare today!

1) Whole Grain Mac n’ Cheese with Broccoli

There’s no greater crowd-pleaser than mac n’ cheese. What’s not to love about elbow noodles and gooey cheese?

However, the stuff that comes from a box (with its questionable “cheese” powder) is a nutritionally void mess.

Instead, load your kids up on heart-healthy whole wheat spirals, reduced-fat cheese, and diced broccoli florets.

You’ll get a hearty dose of fiber, calcium, and Vitamin C in a format that even the pickiest children will love!

Recipe:

  • 3 cups whole wheat pasta spirals
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 dash of salt
  • 1 dash of pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Bring water to a boil for the pasta. Boil pasta until al dente, between 7-9 minutes. While pasta is cooking, stir 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1 cup of skim milk. When the roux thickens, gradually add the cheese.

Place the broccoli in a microwave-safe dish and loosely cover it. Steam in the microwave for three minutes, until slightly softened.

Drain the pasta and add the cheese sauce and broccoli. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

2) Fiesta Chicken and Rice

Kids are notorious for turning their noses up at vegetables. If they see something green on their plate, they may dramatically try to push it away.

(Theatric gagging and other sound effects are all part of their charm, right?)

The key to getting your kids to eat their veggies, therefore, is to make them irresistible.

In this recipe, you’ll combine chopped sweet peppers with low-fat sour cream, pan-seared chicken, and steamed brown rice.

Sweet bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients, and brown rice is full of fiber and important minerals (such as iron and phosphorous).

You’ll also be getting some healthy lean protein from the chicken breasts, too!

Recipe:

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 dash of salt
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream

Prepare rice according to instructions on your rice cooker. While rice cooks, chop the sweet peppers into large slices. Add oil to a hot skillet.

Add peppers to skillet. Chop the chicken breast into 1-inch cubes. Add them to the peppers and onions in the skillet. Cook until onion is translucent, chicken is opaque, and the peppers are softened.

Add seasoning. Plate rice, top with chicken and vegetable mixture. Add a dollop of sour cream to the top.

Makes 4 servings.

3) Baked Fish Tacos

Trying to get your children to eat fish can be challenging. Unless it’s breaded and formed into a stick shape, they typically want nothing to do with it.

You can change their minds with these scrumptious fish tacos!

You’ll be giving your kids an impressive dose of Omega-3 fatty acids from the fish, which is important to help their young brains become healthy.

They won’t even mind the fresh cabbage (which is high in Vitamin K and Vitamin B6) and tomato salsa (which is full of a healthy antioxidant called lycopene), either, as it will balance perfectly with the subtly nutty flavor of the corn tortillas.

Dig in!

Recipe:

  • 2 large white fish filets
  • ¼ head cabbage
  • 1 medium red tomato
  • 1 lime
  • ½ onion
  • 8 medium corn tortillas
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 425. Season white fish with cumin, olive oil, and salt. Bake for up to 15 minutes, or until fish is flaky.

While fish is cooking, chop cabbage into ribbons. Dice onion and tomatoes. Gently mix with the cabbage.

Steam corn tortillas in your microwave under a damp towel, until tortillas are soft and flexible. Break the fish into smaller, uneven sized pieces. Pile it onto a corn tortilla, then top with cabbage slaw and a squeeze of lime juice.

Makes 4 servings.

4) Overnight Oats with Fresh Berries

Trying to get your children to eat breakfast can be super difficult, especially if you’re rushing around to get them out of the door on time in the morning.

If your kids are used to eating toaster pastries or sugary cereal in the morning, they may be even more resistant to eating a healthy breakfast.

To avoid a power struggle at the morning breakfast table, you can instead pull this delicious breakfast out of the fridge to serve immediately.

Because you prepare it the night before, you won’t have any excuses to miss out on the most important meal of the day.

This recipe includes good-for-you rolled oats, which contain healthy fiber to keep them full all morning long. This dish also features flaxseed, which has healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

Plus, it has low-fat Greek yogurt, giving them a punch of protein and calcium so they can grow up strong and healthy.

For sweetness, it adds a touch of honey, and fresh berries offer a sneaky dose of antioxidants.

Recipe:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 cups fresh berries
  • 1 tablespoon milled flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Mix rolled oats with skim milk and Greek yogurt. Add cinnamon. Portion into four smaller dishes. Lightly cover and set in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, stir, then add fresh berries to the oats. Drizzle with honey. Serve cold.

Makes 4 servings.

5) Chocolate Banana “Nice” Cream

You scream I scream, we all scream…for “nice” cream?

Most kids’ first tooth is a sweet tooth, but as a parent, you probably want to avoid giving them too much sugar.

Sugar has been shown to be very harmful for you.

It isn’t just bad for their teeth, either. It can increase their risk of developing metabolic problems, heart disease, and diabetes later on in life.

That said, as a loving parent, you do want to give your children the occasional dessert every once in a while. What can you do to compromise?

You give them “nice” cream! It’s the perfect choice for a sweet treat when you’re trying to help your child reduce their sugar intake (and maybe quit sugar for yourself, too!).

Instead of using high-fat heavy cream and tons of unnecessary sugar, this recipe is all-natural and low in fat.

In fact, the only sugar in it comes from the secret ingredient: frozen bananas!

Bananas are very nutritious, packed to the brim with vitamins, antioxidants, and potassium. They also have resistant starch, which has been shown to help keep your blood glucose levels low, and your digestive system running smoothly.

You can customize this recipe depending on your own personal preferences, but this one caters to those who love chocolate.

And yes, even chocolate can be part of a healthy and balanced diet!

Recipe:

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Chop bananas into 1-inch slices. Place in zip-top freezer bag and set in freezer until frozen solid.

Empty bananas into your food processor. Pulse until bananas are light and fluffy. Gradually add cocoa powder.

Serve immediately. If desired, top with dried coconut flakes or semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Makes 4 servings.

Laying the Foundation for a Healthy Life

As a parent, your children are watching your every move very closely.

They’re learning from your social cues, and they’re picking up on your habits – both the good ones and the bad ones.

To help keep them on the right path for a healthy life, you want to make sure that they see you treating yourself right and getting enough sleep.

When you eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins without fuss, they’ll see what you’re doing. And when you normalize these healthy dietary behaviors, they’ll copy them, too.

Remember, the things you teach them today will shape who they are tomorrow.

By starting them off on the right foot now, you’re going to raise children who crave nutritious, healthy foods.

In turn, they’ll have a lower risk of developing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health complications in adulthood. Because of you, they’ll have a better chance of living a long and healthy, happy life.

As a loving parent who would do anything for your children, there really is no better gift that you could give to them!

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