Creating meals that appeal to the finicky palates of children can be a challenge, and trying to make those meals healthy is even more difficult. Children are notoriously picky eaters, and everyone knows someone with a child who only eats macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. Fortunately, you can make some easy meals that kids love–and still squeeze in a some healthy foods.
A sandwich is about as quick and easy as you can get. The great thing about sandwiches is that you can customize them to any tastes. You could serve the classic peanut butter and jelly, or you could fill a pita with hummus and vegetables. Cut them into fun shapes such as hearts or stars for added appeal. To make a sandwich a meal, serve it with healthy side dishes, such as soup or cut vegetables. If your kids are veggie-phobic, try including a dip to make it more fun.
Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a classic kid favorite, but most people realize that it’s not exactly the healthiest meal. You can easily boost the nutrition by adding some vegetables to the meal. If your kids like veggies, broccoli and cauliflower make a nice addition to the dish. If they don’t, you could puree a small amount of carrots or sweet potato to mix in and they’ll be none the wiser. Boxed macaroni and cheese is often high in sodium, so consider making your own.
Spaghetti is another kid favorite that’s easy to make. Simply boil the pasta and mix it with a jar of sauce. Hide vegetables by pureeing them into the sauce. Add protein in the form of meatballs or ground beef. If your child is vegetarian, you can boost the protein of this dish by adding soy crumbles or lentils–cook them separately before adding to the sauce.
Eggs, Bacon and Toast
Eggs are high in protein and easy to make in a variety of ways. Serve them with bacon and toast, and you have a complete meal. Don’t reserve this meal only for breakfast. Kids love the change in routine of a breakfast-for-dinner meal.
Almost all kids love pizza, but the kind that you get from the pizza shop is loaded with calories. You can make it healthier at home. Use English muffins, pita pockets or homemade whole-wheat crust, and allow your child to top it with whatever he wants. Because these are single-serving sizes, everyone can design his own.
Tacos and Quesadillas
Tacos and quesadillas are also easily customizable. Once you cook the beef with the taco seasonings, kids can simply fill up their taco with the things that they like. A quesadilla is just cheese and other toppings inside a tortilla shell and cooked on a frying pan or in the microwave.