15 Recipes to Make Healthy Food Kid-Friendly

Recipes for dishes that kids will love.
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A child’s daily menu should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and low-fat dairy products or calcium-rich non-dairy foods. I know that feeding kids healthy foods can be tough, especially if they're picky eaters, so I've selected some recipes that are easy to make, delicious and really good for your kids.

Fruits and Vegetables

Many kids don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, which is sad because eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables is such a good way to ensure adequate intake of most vitamins and minerals. Plus, they’re usually high in soluble fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive system and helps keeps tummies feeling full between meals.

Brightly colored and dark green vegetables and fruits are the best because they contain phytochemicals (plant chemicals that are good for you) along with essential vitamins and minerals. Urge your kids to eat a rainbow of foods every day,

Each meal should include one or two vegetables, and fruit makes an excellent dessert. Raw fruits and vegetables are good for between-meal snacks, too.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are good because they retain their fiber that’s typically removed during processing. The fiber in whole grains is mostly insoluble fiber that you need for healthy digestive system function. It also helps slow down the digestion and absorption of the starchy carbs that go along with grains. 

When you buy bread, cereal or pasta, read the label and try to find products made with 100-percent whole grain flour, sometimes the manufacturers use just a small amount and call it “made with whole grains.”

Include a whole grain with every meal, either as bread, pasta or cereal. Whole grain crackers can be served with cheese or fruit for snacks.

Calcium Sources

Calcium is necessary for healthy bones and teeth, plus it helps your nerves and muscles work correctly. Calcium is also essential for normal blood clotting.

Dairy products are the go-to food group for calcium. Milk, cheese, yogurt and sour cream all have calcium. But they can also be high in fat, and not everyone can digest them. If that’s the case, then choose calcium-rich foods that aren’t dairy such as leafy dark green veggies.

Protein Sources

Protein is necessary for building and maintaining muscles and organs. If your children are meat-eaters, give them lean cuts of beef and pork; or else chicken and fish are good protein sources. Eggs and dairy products also contain some animal protein.

You child doesn’t need to eat meat to get protein because there are good plant sources as well. Legumes such as soy and dried beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds are all good sources of protein, and they’re also sources of healthy fats. Include a serving of protein with each meal. A handful of nuts makes a great snack with an apple or pear.

Healthy Beverages

Water is always a good choice because it doesn’t have any extra calories. Milk, fruit, and vegetable juices are good as long as they don’t have added sugar (and even without added sugar, you may have to watch the calories).

What to Avoid

If you feed your child lots of nutritious foods, he or she probably won’t have a big appetite for junk foods. It’s okay to give your child a treat now and then, but it’s best to avoid most heavily processed foods (chicken nuggets, frozen pizza snacks, frozen dinners), sugary soft drinks, pastries, cakes, cookies, ice cream, and greasy snacks and chips.

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