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5 ways to make cooking healthy food fun for kids

by Health Journey 6 months ago in recipe
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Here are five ways to incorporate fun and healthy foods into your child's diet.

5 ways to make cooking healthy food fun for kids
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Are you having trouble getting your kids to eat healthy food? You aren't alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is now the number one health concern among children today, with 1 out of 3 children now considered overweight or obese. Nutrition expert Dr. Libby Mills says parents are partly to blame because they have lost control over what kids eat.

"There's a lot of confusion about what we should be feeding our children and it's not necessarily the parents' fault," says Mills. "We've seen a significant drop off in-home cooking and research shows that one primary reason for this is because parents don't have enough time." But getting kids to cook with you can help solve this time crunch and even change your children's eating habits. "It's never too early to start learning how to prepare healthy food," says Mills.

Her advice? Keep it simple and always offer choices, since kids tend to love being in control. With that in mind, we've put together five fun ways for you and your kids to bond in the kitchen and learn a healthy, new recipe.

1. "Ice Cream" Fruit Salad

When it comes to getting kids excited about cooking, one of the most important things you can do is set a good example. "Parents have to remember that they are the role model," says Mills. She suggests using kid-friendly recipes to get them interested in cooking their own food, such as her 'ice cream' fruit salad.

"This is a recipe that children love because it's a healthy version of ice cream," says Mills. "Even though I call it a salad, kids think they're having dessert."

INGREDIENTS: Strawberries, blueberries, and bananas

DIRECTIONS:

Rinse and dry all of the fruit. The rind on a banana should be cut off and discarded and the strawberries and blueberries should also be de-stemmed. Slice bananas, strawberries, and blueberries into small bits about the size of a nickel. Mix together in a bowl and serve immediately for a salad effect, or put in the freezer for 30 minutes for a "sundae" look.

Makes: 1 serving

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 160; Total Fat: 1g (0sat); Sodium: 4mg; Total Carbohydrates: 42g; Sugars: 34g; Protein: 2g

2. Mini Muffin Madness

If you have a picky eater, "miniature" is the way to go when it comes to cooking with kids. Herbs and spices should be introduced as early as possible because they help build up your child's palate and can make even the blandest and most unappealing dish taste delicious.

"Once you start cooking with spices, your children are going to have a much more open mind about their food options," says Mills. "They'll also feel more empowered that they can choose what flavors work for them."

INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup milk, 1-1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter, 3 teaspoons cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the oats, milk, butter, cinnamon, and sugar in a small pot on medium heat. Bring to a boil then lower heat immediately. The mixture should be thick but not too dry. Let it cool down, then spoon the mixture into a cupcake pan until it's 1/2 full. Bake for about 15 minutes or until browned and firm. Let them cool, then prepare to be amazed at how delicious mini muffins can be!

Makes: 24 servings (serving size: 2 muffins)

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 100; Total Fat: 2g (0sat); Sodium: 40mg; Total Carbohydrates: 17g; Sugars: 9g; Protein: 3g

3. Make Your Own Pizza on Naan Bread

While an oven is ideal for cooking pizza, it can be a little tricky to get one at such a young age. So instead, try making your own version on naan bread.

INGREDIENTS: 1 small flour tortilla, 2 teaspoons garlic powder or minced garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and toppings of choice such as cooked sausage, sliced black olives, and mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the olive oil on the tortilla, then sprinkle garlic powder or minced garlic on top of it. Top with your favorite toppings and place in the oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are golden brown.

Makes: 1 serving

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 310; Total Fat: 18g (sat fat 5g, mono 9g, poly 4.5g); Cholesterol: 30mg; Sodium: 790mg; Total Carbohydrate: 20g; Sugar 1g Protein 10g

4. Sushi Rolls

Sushi rolls are a popular choice among parents looking for an easy way to introduce more fish into their kids' diets. Plus, they can be prepared in advance making them perfect for adults who are always on the go.

INGREDIENTS: Canned tuna (in water) or canned salmon (in water), nori wraps (seaweed sheets), sushi rice, avocado, cucumber, and wasabi paste to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Rinse the rice until water runs clear. Place it in a pot with 1-1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 12 minutes or until the water is gone. Remove from heat, stir in 2 teaspoons sugar and let cool.

Slice the avocado, cucumber, and nori into long thin strips. Place a strip of rice on top of the seaweed wrap then spread a teaspoon of wasabi paste. Top with tuna or salmon, avocado, cucumber, and rice then roll up tightly to keep all the contents inside. Slice into bite-sized pieces using kitchen scissors.

Makes: 1 serving

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 320; Total Fat: 8g (sat fat 2g, mono 4g, poly 1.5); Sodium: 200mg; Total Carbohydrates: 48g; Sugars 3g; Protein 20g

5. Carrot Ponytails and Gumballs

This is a fun and healthy twist on the classic carrot cake that even your pickiest eaters will love.

INGREDIENTS: 3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup shortening, 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 2 carrots shredded and finely chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl then set aside. In another large bowl, cream the shortening and sugar until crumbly. Beat in eggs one at a time then beat in vanilla extract and milk. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in carrots.

Grease 2 round 9-inch cake pans, then spread the batter evenly into each pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let it cool completely then serve slices of carrot cake with a side of gumballs!

Makes: 24 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 370; Total Fat: 15g (sat fat 3.5g, mono 7g, poly 4.5); Cholesterol: 45mg; Sodium 300mg; Total Carbohydrate: 54g; Sugars 25g; Protein 3g

Conclusion :

Cooking healthy food can be fun for kids! By utilizing these five easy tips, parents have a simple way to encourage their children to eat well while having a great time in the kitchen.

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Health Journey

Health and Lifestyle

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