7 Fun Healthy Food Ideas for Kids
Got a picky eater? (Who doesn’t?) End mealtime battles with these creative ways to make healthy foods more tempting.
By Diana Kelly
Healthy Food: Hard-Boiled Eggs
Get your kid to eat it: Don’t wait for Easter! Decorate hard-boiled eggs year 'round—and they’ll get 6 grams of protein and many other good-for-you nutrients. Decorated eggs are safe to eat as long as you use food-grade dyes and make sure the eggs didn’t crack during cooking, which can introduce bacteria. You can also use stickers or markers to get creative. (Think spooky faces for Halloween, hearts for Valentine’s Day.) Serve as an after-school snack with whole-grain crackers and fruit.
Healthy Food: Oatmeal
Get your kid to eat it: Oatmeal is rich in filling, heart-healthy soluble fiber—and also a blank canvas for fun toppings such as nuts and fresh or dried fruits. Cut banana eyes, a strawberry nose, and a mouth of blueberries or raisins. Nutritionist Joy Bauer, RD, shares this chocolate oatmeal recipe on her website: Prepare half a cup of oats with 1 cup water or skim milk. Stir in cocoa powder, a little sugar, and a dash of vanilla extract, and then top with your children's favorite fruits. “This energy-boosting breakfast will keep them—and you—feeling full and satisfied until lunchtime,” Bauer said.
Healthy Food: Yogurt
Get your kid to eat it: Start with 3/4 cup of non-fat vanilla or fruit-flavored yogurt—they’ll get a good amount of calcium and protein—and then add a “toppings bar” like at an ice-cream shop. Let kids sprinkle on low-sugar granola or cereal, chopped nuts, fresh berries, crushed graham crackers, or even dark chocolate chips. Let each kid finish their “dessert” with a fresh cherry or berry.
Healthy Food: Tacos
Get your kid to eat it: For a protein- and fiber-rich dinner, let kids build their own (whole grain) tacos from communal bowls of extra-lean ground meat or grilled chicken or seafood, black beans or kidney beans, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sliced black olives, plain fat-free Greek yogurt, mild salsa, and any other favorite veggies and toppings your family loves. Find more inspiring, kid-friendly taco recipes on RealSimple.com.
Healthy Food: Chicken
Get your kid to eat it: Many kids only want nuggets, which are well suited for small fingers, not to mention often crispy and golden brown. If you don’t want to serve your kids the frozen store-bought kind, making your own isn’t too much work, and with cookie cutters you can shape them into kiddie favorites like animals, hearts, and flowers. Try this toddler-friendly recipe from the blog SuperHealthyKids.com.
Healthy Food: Spinach
Get your kid to eat it: Add this vitamin-packed superstar to homemade mini pizzas—like in this recipe from MarthaStewart.com. If your kids are old enough, let them help mix the ricotta and top with the spinach. The part-skim ricotta cheese is a good source of calcium with fewer calories and fat than the whole-milk version.
Dorling Kindersley RF/Thinkstock
Healthy Food: Fruit
Get your kid to eat it: Chop fruits smaller for littler hands, and cut them into pretend-play creations. One that’s fun: "Traffic Light" Fruit Skewers with Creamy Caramel Dip (from Anabel Karmel's Top 100 Finger Foods book on Parenting.com). with its stack of red, yellow, and green fruits.
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