August 25, 2010

Healthy Kid foods...

As promised I would like to share some ideas on healthy kid friendly meals. Like I said yesterday I’m pretty tired of my daughter wanting a hotdog over something else, and last night all she wanted was tomato and pretzels and even ate some green beans for me. So, I’ve got it lucky with this one. I hope to instill this behavior in all my kids, so it’s a good thing I’m starting off with the first one.

Chicken Nuggets: no, not the frozen and deep fried kind – Home Made! To make this tasty treats just cut skinless chicken breasts into chunks; dip them in flour, egg whites and breadcrumbs (I like to use Panko Bread Crumbs for this). Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Flavor your breadcrumbs to suit your mood. Add oregano, thyme, paprika, cumin or rosemary, for example. Or just use Italian Breadcrumbs with herds in them. Introducing herbs to children helps them expand their palates early on.

French Fries: Again, not deep fried. Although we frequently make our own fried French fries in our deep fryer I recommend using the baked method over frying. To make this dish just cut your potatoes into slices after peeling, place on baking sheet, drizzle olive or canola oil with spices (salt, pepper, garlic, oregano), and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until fries are tender.

Hamburgers: Don’t buy the premade patties, just buy some lean ground meat (beef, turkey, or chicken) and make your own patties adding in any extra ingredients you’d like. My favorite is the turkey burger with some diced red peppers, salt/pepper/garlic, diced red onion, shredded cheese, and some bread crumbs to hold it all together.

Smoothies: The best way to get your fruit in and enjoy it too. A handful of fruit, a frozen banana, and a cup of your favorite flavor of yogurt; blend until smooth. This is a great way for the older kids to get their snacks themselves too when they get home from school.

Personal Veggie Pizza: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread tomato sauce onto a piece of whole wheat pita bread or English muffin. Top with your favorite veggies, such as frozen peas, spinage, mushrooms, bell peppers, corn, onions, olives, broccoli or sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle cheese over vegetables and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

• Tips for all children:
- Always attempt the whole grains
- Have fresh fruits and vegys on hand
- Teach older kids how to cook and learn about spices and healthy fats
- Add calcium (cheese, milk, yogurt, and even Orange Juice!
- Allow for special treats occasionally – sometimes ice cream, pie, or candy is deserved and we shouldn’t avoid those items with our children. They deserve to indulge just like we do.

• Other tips for small kids:
- Whole grains instead of white
- Shop at the local farmer’s market in the summer to get them involved in picking their own foods.
- Hand sized vegys and bite sized are great ways to get kids into eating those vegys. Such as baby carrots, sugar snap peas, green beans, berries, nectarines (without the pit), and melon slices, half a cob of corn, small banana, and the list goes on.

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