Kid’s can be fussy eaters especially when it comes to eating the good stuff full of vitamins and proteins. But place one of these kid’s favorite foods in front of them and you’ll see the plates wiped clean in a jiffy.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Probably one of the most popular kid’s favorite foods is the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In moderation, this makes for a good choice for a meal or after school snack. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and monounsaturated fats. It is better to opt for natural or reduced fat peanut butter with multigrain bread and a 100 percent fruit jelly to cut down on unnecessary sugar.
Macaroni and Cheese
What kid doesn’t love good old American mac and cheese? It is quick and warm and a great option to fill small tummies. A cup of macaroni and cheese made from a packaged mix has around 260 calories. When you can, try to choose a whole-wheat option but adding fun shaped pasta will make it more fun for kids to enjoy. Using low-fat cheese or mozzarella can also help make this child’s favorite more nutritious.
Kid’s favorite foods always include pizza, with its doughy, crispy crust, gooey cheese, saucy toppings. A single slice of thin crust medium pizza has around 215 calories. To make it healthier, try serving thin crust and add at least one vegetable to the topping. You could even let your kids try making their own pizzas!
Made popular by fast food chains, hamburgers are a good source of protein but high on fat, sodium and calories. If you serve burgers in your home regularly, try switching to turkey burgers once in a while to cut down on the fat content. You can also add finely chopped veggies to your burgers to make them a little more nutritious. Don’t forget the toppings! Veggies like tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and pickles are a great way to work in that extra serving of veggies to your child’s favorite dish.
A hot dog makes for a great dinner or lunch treat. One hot dog made of processed meat has about 150 calories and a little over 10 grams of fat. Look for hot dogs that are 100% beef or maybe try hot dogs made of turkey for a lower fat option. Skip the fries and add some fruit, coleslaw or vegetables as sides. These are great ways to compromise with your little one so they are getting the foods they love and the nutrition they need.
Another kid’s favorite food is chicken tenders or nuggets. They make for great finger food that is easy to eat and a great source of protein. Though most chicken nuggets are fried making them full of calories and fat, you can opt to make your own healthier version at home and bake them or pan fry them in coconut oil. Add sides such as fresh or steamed veggies and brown rice for a well-rounded meal.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Enjoyed by kids and adults alike on a cold day is a bowl of warm chicken noodle soup. This soup usually includes chicken, noodles, celery, carrots and onions in a rich broth. Soups are sometimes high in sodium, so a good idea is to have your children drink a glass of water along with their meal. Make sure the chicken chunks are big to help add to the protein intake or add other sources of protein on the side like yogurt or peanut butter on crackers with the soup.
The cheese makes for a good source of protein and calcium, but can sometimes be high in calories. Opt for a low-fat cheese and butter spread to keep calories under control. Using whole-grain or whole-wheat bread to add fiber to the meal as well. Instead of serving potato chips, choose a healthier chip like whole-grain Sun Chips for a little added crunch.
Loved by just about every child in Americ is this time-honored classic; spaghetti. This tomato-based meal makes for a good source of lycopene and potassium. The tomato base is mostly vegetables and is lower in fat and calories than Alfredo. One can puree extra vegetable like green peppers into the sauce for added nutrition your kids will never notice. Adding lean ground beef and whole-wheat paste can also make it healthier. For an added twist, try using ground turkey instead of beef.
Tacos are fun for kids, mainly because they taste great and kids can get a little messy while eating them and not get in trouble with Mom and Dad! Tacos are generally served with cheese, meat, lettuce, and tomatoes wrapped in a hard or soft shell. The hard shells are fun to eat and add a little crunch. Soft tortillas are also a great option. You may want to opt for a corn or whole-wheat tortilla to up the nutritional value. Choose turkey or lean ground beef that will be lower on fat content. Guacamole has monounsaturated fats but is high in calories so should be used in moderation. It’s best to choose a low-fat sour cream as well.
Kid’s favorite foods aren’t usually healthy but some small twists and changes here and there to infuse them with nutrients and make them healthier is not impossible. It’s a great way for kids to get what they want and for parents to serve them what they need.
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