According to a research published in the Nutrients journal; “Early-life experiences with various tastes and flavours have a role in promoting healthy eating in future life”.(1)
Making sure that children eat a well-balanced diet can be tricky.
Kids tend to be picky eaters and trying new things can be a chore. Instead of offering new foods to your children, it can help to offer healthier versions of foods they already like.
They will be less likely to see it as “something icky” and more likely to give it a try.
Pasta dishes are easy to add nutrition to, and kids don’t usually spot the differences.
You can puree vegetables like spinach, carrots or red peppers into the tomato sauce.
It won’t change the taste or texture much, so your kids will never know unless you tell them. You can also use healthier kinds of pasta. Because pasta is full of carbohydrates, it’s not the healthiest option.
If you choose whole grain pasta, your meal will be healthier and still full of flavor.
Another way to make pasta night healthier is to serve it with a salad instead of garlic bread. If you use a low-calorie dressing (my family favorite is Chunky Blue Cheese), the salad will be a healthy alternative.
Try to encourage your children to eat their salad as an appetizer before serving them pasta, so they won’t be tempted to fill up on pasta without touching their salad.
To make pasta night more fun for your kids, let them decide what shape of pasta to get.
Encourage them to help you make the salad or pick out the vegetables at the supermarket, so they will want to eat them.
When they feel included, they will be more likely to want to clear their plate.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Soup
Grilled cheese sandwiches are a huge hit with kids, but they can be quite unhealthy because of all the butter and cheese.
In place of spreading butter on white bread, use light mayo and wheat bread and use two slices of low-fat cheese.
Serve this healthier grilled cheese with tomato soup made with low-fat milk or water.
This meal will still be full of flavor that kids will love.
Children love chicken nuggets, but there are healthier alternatives they will love.
Instead of serving plain grilled chicken on a plate, cut the cooked chicken into fun shapes using a cookie cutter or a knife.
Serve these homemade nuggets with your child’s favorite dipping sauce and carrot or celery sticks.
Your child can have fun dipping this healthy alternative to the breaded, fried chicken nuggets they usually eat.
Another healthy alternative to fried chicken is a grilled chicken sandwich.
Use low-fat cheese and add veggies like lettuce and tomato to the sandwich.
Let your child choose a spread for the sandwich, like mayo, honey mustard or ranch.
Instead of offering chips or french fries as a side, serve something healthy, like applesauce or fresh fruit, with the sandwich.
It’s important for kids to learn healthy eating habits when they’re still young.
If they get accustomed to eating foods filled with fat and calories too often, they will have a harder time developing healthy eating habits as an adult.
Unhealthy food is OK in moderation, but you shouldn’t serve it daily!
These three healthy alternatives will make it easy to feed your kids nutritious food they will ask for again and again.
(1) Scaglioni, S., De Cosmi, V., Ciappolino, V., Parazzini, F., Brambilla, P., & Agostoni, C. (2018). Factors Influencing Children’s Eating Behaviours. Nutrients, 10(6), 706. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10060706