When it comes to nutrition, kids are not like small adults. Their growing bodies have special needs and these differ with each age group as well. The following “Recipes for Kids” section is intended to help you make healthier choices for your children when you prepare their breakfasts, school lunches or snacks.
Waffles with Fruit and Bacon
Starting the day with a nutritious breakfast is extremely important at a young age. Make sure your kids don’t fill up on fatty foods and empty calories but receive all the nutrients they need to get through their day at school and at sports. Some traditional breakfast favorites can be streamlined with just a few simple substitutions. As an example, have a look at this lighter and healthier version of waffles and bacon.
To lower the fat and calories in the waffles, you can choose a reduced fat waffle recipe (or reduced fat Bisquick® or similar reduced fat product). Instead of regular bacon, serve Canadian bacon or turkey bacon that is 99% fat free. In addition, you can substitute whole milk with low fat milk. If you serve any egg dishes, use egg whites or egg substitute instead of whole eggs (1 large egg = 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute). Hold the butter as a topping, replace regular syrup with a low calorie version or, better yet, with any fresh fruit syrup. You can be generous with fresh fruit servings. Kids can always use an extra vitamin boost. More “Great Breakfast Ideas” »
Egg Salad Sandwich
Sandwiches taste great at any time of the day. With the right ingredients, they can also be healthy and nutritious. For example, an egg salad made from scratch and served on whole wheat bread can be absolutely delicious. Eggs are a good source of protein, many vitamins and minerals. To reduce cholesterol and fat, use chopped egg white only without the yolk. Also, buy the mayonnaise “light” or “fat free” and serve whole grain instead of white bread for added fiber.
Generally speaking, if you give your children egg whites only (instead of whole eggs), they may have one serving every day. Otherwise, whole eggs (including the egg yolk) should be limited to 2 to 3 servings per week. More “Great Sandwich Ideas” »
Citrus fruits, like oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons and limes, are high in vitamin C and have a wide range of essential nutrients and protective phytochemicals (health-promoting plant chemicals), such as pectin. When eaten raw, citrus fruits are also a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber. Most kids like orange juice. Preferably, buy orange juice with pulp, because it contains fiber.
Vitamin C in citrus also helps the body build and maintain healthy bones, teeth, gums, red blood cells and blood vessels. It promotes healing of wounds, bruises and fractures and also protects from infections by strengthening the immune system.
Because vitamin C is water soluble and cannot be stored in the body, it is important that your kids eat vitamin C rich fruits (and vegetables) on a daily basis. The amount of fruit a child needs can vary with age, gender and level of physical activity. More “Great Fruit Ideas” »
Dark Green Vegetables
Fresh vegetables are an important part of a healthy and balanced diet at any age, but even more so at the early stages in life. Especially dark green vegetables provide a variety of important vitamins and minerals.
Broccoli, spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy and dark green leafy lettuce are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, folate and calcium. These can enhance the immune system and protect against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers (e.g. mouth, stomach and colon cancer). They are also an excellent source of fiber.
Dark green vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None contain cholesterol. Give your kids raw broccoli florettes, perhaps with a low fat blue cheese dip. Or serve lightly steamed green leafy vegetables, which you can add to casseroles, soups or salads. Keep in mind that sauces or seasonings can unnecessarily add calories, fat and sodium to an otherwise perfectly healthy dish. Like with fruit, the amount of vegetables your child needs varies with age, gender and level of physical activity. More “Great Vegetable Ideas” »