Trying to get the kids to eat to more fruits and vegetables? Make these simple changes to any recipe and the kids will be eating healthy, tasty food
Feeding your family healthy and nutritious meals that also taste great isn’t easy! Kids need fresh, delicious foods that don’t break the bank and can be prepared quickly. Here are a few suggestions for simple substitutions and additions to boost the nutritional value of your favourite family recipes without sacrificing the flavour.
For added sweetness in most baking recipes, substitute some of the sugar or butter for unsweetened applesauce. Avoid the temptation to substitute all the sugar or butter in a recipe for applesauce as the texture of your baked goods will become too rubbery. Though you can buy applesauce it is easy enough to make your own. Buy a large bag of apples–any kind will do–peel, chop and cook until just softened. Blend to a puree using a food processor or blender. You may need to add some water to achieve the correct consistency. Kids love applesauce in porridge and on lean pork chops. Applesauce freezes well so make a large batch and freeze portions.
Dates are incredibly rich, sweet and tasty. High in fibre, pitted dates are a great treat on their own to throw into lunch bags and snack boxes. Just a few should satisfy any sweet tooth. Use chopped dates instead of chocolate chips in muffins and cookies. Make date paste to add to smoothies, cakes or porridge. To make date paste, puree pitted dates with small quantities of water to the desired consistency.
These are truly a superfood! Full of fibre and antioxidants, you can get a full day’s serving of omega 3 in just 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. Tiny, crispy and virtually tasteless, chia seeds can be added to smoothies and salads, sprinkled on ice cream or a bowl of fruit and yogurt. Add to quiches, soups, sauces, bread and muffin recipes. Sprinkle inside the kid’s sandwiches for a nutritional boost.
This versatile vegetable works well in both sweet or savoury recipes. Instead of adding more oil or butter, finely grate a small zucchini into bread and muffin batters to add moisture without adding fat or calories. Zucchini makes a great “noodle”–use a spiralizer to create angel hair “pasta” that is so soft, you won’t even need to cook it! Use a vegetable peeler to create strips of zucchini noodles to layer in a lasagna. Roughly grate a zucchini as a basis to any salad or stir fry. The texture is so close to pasta, no one will know the difference!
Finely grated carrot can by covertly added to many recipes without altering the taste. Add to pasta sauce for greater nutrition and texture. Sprinkle on a sandwich and the kids won’t even know it’s there. Blend into the grated cheese topping on pizza, quiches or sandwich melts and no one will even notice.
Making healthy recipes for kids should be fun and easy–experiment with grating, chopping or slicing different fruits and vegetables for snacks. If healthy food is on offer, the kids will eat it.