Healthy New Year Series
Hide and Go Eat!
Hiding healthy foods into favorite foods
As we discussed in our last blog, encouraging kids to eat a good variety of healthy foods consistently can be an issue. Some kids will eat, or at least try pretty much anything that’s introduced to them. That’s the ideal solution.
However, even if a child TRIES broccoli, it doesn’t mean they’re going to KEEP eating broccoli. Getting kids to regularly eat healthy foods sometimes requires imagination and creativity. Thankfully, there are many imaginative ways to introduce new foods into your child’s diet.
We’ve included a few ideas and recipes below that include good-for-you foods HIDDEN inside everyday favorites. If you give this ‘ hide and go eat ’ experiment a shot, let us know how it works.
You can steam and puree cauliflower and mix it with scrambled eggs. Cauliflower adds fiber and vitamins every kid needs.
Pumpkin or butternut squash can be added to pancakes. Make sure to include a little cinnamon, too! Cinnamon adds many healthy benefits, like having natural anti-inflammatory properties… and it tastes great!
Breakfast smoothies are a great way to hide healthy foods in yummy concoctions! Adding spinach to a smoothie adds iron and other important nutrients.
Try blending 1 cup of almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 2 cups of spinach and 1 tablespoon of nut butter of your choice.
It tastes great and is a very cool bright green color!
Most kids LOVE grilled cheese sandwiches (most adults, too). Add some spinach or tomato to that fave sandwich for extra nutrients. Tomatoes are a super food that have loads of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. For more antioxidant goodness, add a few cubes of watermelon as a side dish!
Most folks eat bread every day. Try baking some fruits and veggies into bread! Banana bread and zucchini bread are delicious and you can easily add more fruits and veggies, along with nuts, into these favorite breads.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a lunchtime staple. Try using different nut butters, like almond or cashew. Also, give honey a try instead of jelly. Raw honey is a natural antioxidant and actually aids in sleep management…perfect for nap time relaxation. Try serving a PB&J on the delicious homemade bread you made!
Quesadillas are a big winner for kids of all ages, including pre-teens and teenagers. You can serve this cheesy, crispy yumminess with a side of raw cucumbers, carrots, red and green peppers, or cut them up and put them inside the quesadilla!
You can also add onions, spinach, black beans, pinto beans or corn.
Pasta and pasta sauce is an easy and effective way to add veggies and extra nutrients in a stealthy way. Not only can you add veggies to the sauce…you can add it to the pasta itself! You can make or purchase pastas that have the veggies built right in!
A simple and healthy pasta dish is to serve spaghetti noodles tossed with a bit of garlic and olive oil, topped with broccoli and sliced grape tomatoes. Add a simple white sauce or red sauce to the top, if you’d like.
Fries are a favorite of EVERYONE! Fries are a fun way to play with yummy healthy options. First, bake the fries instead of deep frying them. That will decrease calories and unnecessary fats. Second, try making the fries out of more nutrient rich vegetables like sweet potatoes, zucchini, or carrot. Use delicious spices like salt, pepper, garlic salt or paprika. And of course, ketchup is great for dipping, as is a ranch dressing made with low fat yogurt.
Pizzas are another simple way to hide much needed good foods into a favorite food. You can mix veggies into the sauce or as a topping. Chopping veggies up very finely and hiding them under the cheese works great.
And remember, any of these recipes can be made WITH your kids! Kids love to help in the kitchen! It helps them learn to cook, and it creates a bond between you.
So, as you can see, with just a little added effort and a few more ingredients added to the foods you’re probably making already, you can create a more healthful menu for the entire family.