How do I create healthy recipes for kids that they will like?

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Answered by: Patricia, An Expert in the Healthy Kid's Recipes Category
Kids are like sponges. They absorb information from the world around them. They have their own likes and dislikes, but much of that is influenced by what they are exposed to. If you create healthy recipes for kids when they are young, their brains and bodies will like and expect healthy food. Even if you haven't fed your kids completely healthy food up to now, you can get them eating healthier and being excited about it by involving them in the cooking process.

Kids are more likely to try a dish they've helped to prepare or even just helped to pick out. So give them some choices and then assign them some tasks suitable to their age and skill level. Once they learn how to do some things in the kitchen, they will actually be a help to you. Making dinner will go from “not now… mommy’s busy”. to quality time with your children. Start by telling them that you want to help their bodies grow up strong and healthy. Then make a list with them of all the foods they like. Tell them you are going to use this list to create some healthy recipes for kids that they can try.

Have a Make-My-Body-Grow Pizza Party. Make a shopping list together: flour, salt, yeast, tomato sauce, cheese, other things your kids like on pizza - olives, pepperoni, etc. Tell your kids that in addition to those things, they need to choose at least two toppings from the make-my-body-grow list: tomatoes, bell peppers, pineapple, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, any other veggies you know they like. Have the kids help find the ingredients at the store. When you make the pizza, they can help mix up and roll out the dough, chop up the veggies (depending on their age), and put on the toppings.

If ice cream is on your kids’ favorite foods list, try blending up a couple of frozen bananas with a scoop of peanut butter and just enough milk to give it a thick, creamy consistency. Serve this tasty treat in dessert bowls and top with chopped peanuts. Depending on their age, your kids can help peel, chop, and freeze the bananas, scoop the peanut butter, pour the milk, and turn on the blender. Older children can make this dessert on their own.

Getting kids to eat vegetables can be tricky. The best method is to start feeding them fresh, steamed vegetables when they are toddlers: chop carrots, green beans, squash, etc. into child-size bites. Set a steamer basket in a saucepan with an inch of water in it. Add the fresh vegetables to the basket. When the water comes to a boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat a little, and steam for about 4 minutes. Do this frequently enough, and your kids will never think twice about eating fresh cooked vegetables.

It is never too late to change your kids' eating habits. If they’re older, you just need to have some patience. Don’t change everything at once. Try adding some vegetables to dishes they already enjoy, like the pizza recipe above. Small pieces of broccoli or squash are also good in macaroni and cheese – another kid favorite. Another way to prepare vegetables that older children like, is to steam them, then drizzle on some olive oil and sprinkle them with garlic salt and / or parmesan cheese.

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