I forgot how good kids’ foods tasted until I started making these foods for Max (my 2 year old.) Let’s face it – you can’t force your toddler to eat adult meals all the time, especially if you are on a diet.
What you can do however is make good choices and turn a not so healthy meal into a more nutritious meal for your child (and for you!) Take these examples:
Mac n Cheese –
Better Choice: Instead of Boxed Kraft Mac n Cheese, opt for organic real-cheese, whole wheat mac n cheese. I like to use Annie’s if I need a quick lunch for Max.
DIY: Make it yourself with whole wheat noodles, low-fat cheese, and of course add in a few chopped veggies for extra nutrition!
Peanut Butter and Jelly-
Better Choice/DIY: Swap white bread for Ezekial bread or something similar. Ditch the Jif or any other peanut butter with hydrogenated oils for a natural nut spread. Smuckers natural peanut butter uses only peanuts and a small amount of salt. This is a good choice that you can find in any supermarket. Instead of Jelly or Jam, use slices of banana or other fruit, a small amount of honey, or an all-natural jam spread without all the extras.
Chicken Nuggets –
Better Choice: Look for all white meat, whole grain and bake them yourself. Fast food chicken nuggets are a no-no!!
DIY: Make a breading from almond meal, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. Take 1 inch pieces of chicken breast, dip them into a whipped up egg, and then dip them into the breading. Coat well. Bake for 15 minutes on 350, flip them over and bake for another 15.
French Fries –
Better Choice: Always go for baked, not fried. If you’re buying frozen, look for organic and skip adding extra salt.
DIY: Take Baking potatoes (or sweet potatoes) and peel them. Cut in ¼ in strips. Toss the potatoes in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Flip them, and bake for an additional 15.
Better Choice: Look for a pizza with whole grain crust (it really tastes very good.) In the frozen isle, there are lots of organic brands to choose from and quite a few pizza places around Miami offer a whole wheat crust option.
DIY: Again, use a whole wheat crust. Skimp on the cheese and add extra veggies. Doing this will double the nutrition value.
Better Choice: Look for dogs without Nitrites and Nitrates. Even the “all white meat fat free turkey” dogs have nitrites in them. This is a known carcinogenic and is also found in cured meats such as deli meats, bacon, etc. Once you find a suitable dog, stick it in a whole wheat bun and add veggie toppings or salsa instead of ketchup. Hot diggity!