Healthier Meals for Kids

Dawn - posted on 02/24/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

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I am trying to get my son to eat healthier meals with more fiber and my family as well. My son however has a problem eating certain textures sometimes. He chews on some food then spits them out. He cannot eat steaks or things like that. All he really ever wants is chicken nuggets. He does eat many different things but I want him to eat more veggies. Sometimes he will eat a salad mostly only lettuce. I was wondering if anyone had any healthy recipes that kids like.

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Sarah - posted on 04/10/2010

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I think you are right on the money with Sneaky Chef. There are two books out there to buy or borrow, and you can find recipes on the internet. They are a great basis and you can use your imagination as you get used to them. It seems like a lot of work and can be a little more expensive, but you don't have to use all the ingredients. Try a couple of them if you can't afford or don't think your child will like it at all. Most of the purees don't taste like anything in the food. Something they do have a taste, but in the recipe there is something to counter that. Occasionally, it will change the colour, so just read along the books and recipes for some easy tips! :)
Hope you get what you are looking for and that it works out! My son just loves fruit and veggies; it's a whole new world when they figure out that they taste awesome and go into just about anything :)
I personally love my Sneaky Chef book and have come up with some alternatives and some great ideas in general that my family just loves!
Good luck!!

Candace - posted on 04/09/2010

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Another little trick I learned to add more fiber to my families diet is to add a little Benefiber to whatever I'm cooking. It's tasteless and everything so they never even know it's in there....hope this helps

Jennifer - posted on 04/07/2010

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Try to really limit how often you make things like chicken nuggets or those other things he'll ONLY eat... tell him even if he doesn't like something he has to at least take 1 or 2 bites to try it, who knows maybe he'll just like something. Usually I say 2 bites because they don't always realize if they like something, they just think they hate it so they take the smallest bite they can or just swallow it without taking the time to taste it. Sneaking veggies into things they like... one of my favorites is when I make meatloaf I chop onions about as small as I can get them, or shred them, you can also shred or puree other veggies in there like carrots, peppers are a bit strong for kids not to notice, and instead of putting in ketchup or tomato sauce I just put in a whole can of diced tomatoes, if they don't like the chunks you can purree it. My kids love zucchini, carrot, or banana bread... but I try not to make it often because it's not too healthy on it's own. There are toddler snacks with fruits and veggies bakes into them. I've recently started buying fruit strips, make sure they're made out of fruit... but they taste about like a fruit roll up with less calories and only the natural sugar from the fruit. Sometimes mixing veggies into things they really like helps, I put peas into shells and cheese, or spinach into pasta and sauce. If it's something they really want they might eat it or at least try it. And make them at least taste a bite or two before they can have anything else, or tell them that's what you're eating, and they can't have anything else until they eat it.

Jayanthi - posted on 04/01/2010

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yes it is a problem making kids eat their veggies. i think many moms wd agree. i am an indian and we basically use more vegetables in our meals. we cook a few combinations of veggies alongwith rice and throw in some spices. this way the dish tastes good and the veggies get eaten. we also make salads in different combinations. one such simple one wd be-- chopped onions, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber and some sprouted lentils mixed together and salt and pepper added to taste. garnish it with some coriander leaves(cilantro) and add some lemon juice to it. it tastes delicious and is full of fibre. do give it a try!!

Candace - posted on 03/28/2010

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When making spaggetti, lasagna, or anything like that even manwich ,finely chop up a zuccinni and baby carrots and mix in. You can not taste them and they make your meal more filling...jope this helps

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Stephanie - posted on 05/23/2010

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ok so I know that it is hard to reverse maybe not the best eating habits but sometimes it is just sitting down with one's self and evaluating. K so all you moms who are finding it hard remember this they learn through example. Grow a small garden if you don't have the space find a community garden in your area. You can locate these through the city works dept. Garden with your children it not only is healthy and exciting but children learn about creation, nurturing, and it is a fantastic way to get to know your kids but the reward they are eager to try their veggie's moms. I have 5 wonderful children.....the only rule in our house about veggie's is when they each turned 3 they got to omit 1 veggie from their diet at 6 1 more and at 9 the last one other than that they eat them. Try it it works.

Stephanie - posted on 05/23/2010

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first chicken nuggets are the worst thing for your child to eat. Look up Jamie the chief and see how they are made it will make you vomit. I would start by getting cookie cutters large, and teach your son how to make a healthy sandwich and let him experiment with cutting them into shapes sometimes it is the appeal that will help make the change. Start slow then move up to fruit dessert pizzas put the ingredients in separate bowls and as a family have a little English muffin and fat free cool whip add mandarins sliced bananas grapes strawberries sliced kiwis it is a great alternative to cake, pie or other high fattening choices. also replace your ice cream with non fat frozen yogurt you really can't tell the difference as far as main dishes sometimes letting him help prepare and reap the rewards of eating his bounty will work good luck

Sarah - posted on 05/21/2010

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if your making pasta sauce try chopping up loads of veg and frying first then add the sauce, this can be done with store bought sauces too. when it is cooked blend the sauce with a hand blender. hidden vegetable sauce, its yummy and the kids dont know their eatting vegetables!!!

Sarah - posted on 05/21/2010

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if you get small wholegrain pitta bread put a tomato base (even pasta sauce) and get him to put dif veg on it put it in the grill and its a mini pizza. my 3yr old doesnt like pizza but because he makes this himself he eats it all up. you might want t cook the veg a little before you put them on they can tend to still be hard because it only takes 2 or 3 min in the grill!!

Dawn - posted on 04/09/2010

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I also wanted to ask Jayanthi Swaminathan if she had anymore healthy recipes to share? post on here if she did not mind. I also wanted to asked anyone else if they did as well, ones they like the taste of. Post here if they don't mind so others can get them too. I like other peoples recipes simply because for one I know there is someone that actually eats it and two because I cook best with recipes and instructions LOL..thanks you all so much for helping me here.

Dawn - posted on 04/09/2010

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Thanks to everyone for the help, and I am hoping others are finding these as helpful and useful as I am..i actually do not care for fresh carrots too much but I found that in certain foods you cannot tell and they are good.. thanks you once more to everyone.

Dawn - posted on 04/09/2010

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I am not really sure about gaining weight. Is your baby underweight? If so I would consult your doctor and ask them but there are a lot of things you can buy like the drinks for kids to give them all their vitamins. If they eat right weight gain is not as important. My kid was really tiny for a long time, he did not eat much. Then he reached a certain age and ate more then he should LOL. You might ask your ped to check them, some kids get problems that make it hard to gain weight. They sometimes can be lacking a certain vitamin. Too much weight gain maybe harmful in the long run. I use to complain my son was not gaining, now he gains to much too easily. As long as they get proper nutrition the weight or lack of it is not always meaning something is wrong or that they need more. Unless you mean the the doctor recommends it? sorry if this message confused you. I was not sure what you meant. I hope it helps though. Also, take your baby or kids activeness and height into consideration when thinking about their weight.

Grace - posted on 03/28/2010

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Try just blanching some veggies like carrots and broccoli. some children don't like veggies because they say they are mushy, or that they are too hard and hurt their teeth. Also get them to help prepare some of the meal with you. Pride of ownership will sometimes get them to try things because they helped to make it.

Dawn - posted on 03/27/2010

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I tried taking a peeler (i like those for a lot of things lol) and using it on baby carrots (raw). I took the shavings of three and put them in an egg with milk and cooked them on the skillet, covered it with cheese and he loved it. Not sure how healthy that is but it worked. I thought I had tricked him however the next day when I was making eggs I had some carrots out and he asked me to put them in the eggs again LOL..guess I wasn't as clever as I thought I was :) But it worked.

Elizabeth - posted on 03/25/2010

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Good for you for trying! My daughter is a picky eater so I have to sneak some of the healthy foods into her. I googled and found a recipe for a healthy cookie that has spinach in it and she loves it. Google Spinookie. Good luck!

Bethanie - posted on 03/24/2010

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I second the wheat germ. We use that a lot and it is very undetectable. Great to sprinkle in ANYTHING. The best source of natural fiber is in whole grain products. Usually has the most soluble fiber (what your body actually absorbs) and a lot more vitamins then the whole wheat white bread variety. This kind they have to add back in all the vitamins and minerals that they previously stripped out. The bread we eat is Nature Bake. About 3-5 grams of fiber per slice (depending on the type), low in calories and NO high fructose corn syrup. Everything in our fridge is whole grain, including tortillas. Veggies are important, fruit can't really replace this. If you still don't feel like he's getting the complete "nutritional profile" through his food, subbing in a kids multi won't hurt.

Foods High In Fiber

Grain and Whole Wheat Products

Bagels, Bran Buds, Brown Rice, Buds, Cereals, Granola, Muffins, Pasta



Fruits

Dried fruits (apricots, dates, prunes, raisins) Apples, Avocado, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Mango,Oranges, Peach, Pears, Raspberries, Strawberries

Vegetables

Broccoli, Beans, Carrots, Cauliflower, Corn, Green Beans, Green Peas, Greens, Legumes, Peas, Potato with Skin,



Nuts

Almonds, Peanuts



Beans

Black, Chick, Kidney, Lentils, Lima, Pinto, Soy



Also, try making a smoothie. Mix in some of his favorite fruits and sneak in a few veggies that will blend in well. You can add wheat germ into this too for an added boost of fiber and minerals!

Dawn - posted on 03/24/2010

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I want to thank everyone for there help it means a lot.... and im gonna try these things.. i hope they work

Jennifer - posted on 03/24/2010

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My son is almost 4 years old and his favourite food is pancakes. So, almost every morning we make pancakes together. I find that he's much more willing to eat when he helps with the preparation. I experimented with chunks of fruit (bananas, blueberries etc.), whole wheat flour, oats etc., but he didn't like the texture of the pancakes. So, I started using the Complete Buttermilk mix from Aunt Jemima and add half a jar (or homemade) of vegetable baby food (sweet potato, squash or carrot). Then we serve it up with some butter and a bit of pure maple syrup. He's none the wiser about the vegetables and I can start the day with a smile on my face :)

Cheers,
Jenn
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Nichole - posted on 03/23/2010

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http://wholesomebabyfood.com/index.htm

http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.co...



these are some basics for kids/babies.. gives you some ideas for toddlers..

i take every opertunity to sneak in veggies that i can..

-pasta sauce is always made from can tomatos, carrots, green beans, basil, peppers, garlic.. cooked till tender and pureed.

-scrambled eggs always have shredded carrots and zucchini in them

-cottege cheese with avo or cucumber and nuts..

-peanutbutter and carrot sandwich, or califlower.. they mistake the lumps for crunchy peanut butter

-whole grain sweet breads like banana zucchini.. cut out alot of the butter and sugar and its a good source of fresh fruit and veg

- try grating veggies into oatmeal with fruit.. hardly noticeable.

-savory veggie and cheese cookies/buscuits

-mash potato w/pumpkin and cauliflower

-baked cinnamon pumpkin cubes or sweet potato fries

-pumpkin soup w/pureed veggies

-veggie and chicken nuggets (veggies and ground chicken made like a meatball and baked)

-pureed beetroot works in many baked goods.

-veggie and fruit smoothies,, carrots, spinich, flax, frozen blueberrys, frozen strawberrys, frozen or chilled banana, plain rice milk.. freezing veggies that are going soft will help you keep smoothie ingrd. in the house.. any mild tasting veg works for this..

Gabby - posted on 03/23/2010

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also, buy wheat germ in a jar and stir into yogurt or pudding. Great source of fiber and doesn't have a taste!

Alison - posted on 03/23/2010

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You should find the pumpkin puree in most grocery stores. I tried the recipe with devil's food and the girls REALLY liked it.

Often children prefer raw veggies. My girls especially like cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Celery is actually pretty popular too. I serve a lot of green peas too, I buy them frozen. Give him a lot of whatever healthy foods he likes and gradually introduce new stuff.

Try whole grain pasta (puree some veggies into the tomato sauce). If you stop serving the white stuff, he will get used to it.

Add broccoli to Kraft Mac & Cheese (super yummy!).

Offer lots of fruits! If he eats lots of fruits, you don't need to worry so much about the veggies.

Beth - posted on 03/22/2010

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we had lettuce and orange salad with green goddess dressing, for dinner my kids eat salads, when they get picky theres nothing wrong with the one bite rule, eachnew food mnust be tasted,at least. other thought have you had him help with new foods? even putting the new food in a serving bowl can help w trying foods, and yes even at 2

Dawn - posted on 02/26/2010

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thanks I didnt know that about pumpkin either, I hope he likes it too he needs more fiber. I buy the natures own white wheat bread that has 5grams in each slice but i need different stuff not just bread which he loves lol..imma try these thanks so much for the help. glad i asked.

Dawn - posted on 02/26/2010

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hi, I found this interesting, when you say nothing else, does that mean the mix and pumpkin but nothing else that the box tells you to? just to make sure.

Anna - posted on 02/26/2010

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Kaye is so right, pumpkin is so good for you. You can also make really yummy mini muffins vey easily.... use one can of pumpkin puree, mix it with a box of spice cake mix. Nothing else. Stir it until combined well, poor into well greased mini muffin pans, and bake as directed on box. Even my picky eater loves these, and they all have no idea it has pumpkin in it. =-)

Kaye - posted on 02/26/2010

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You can also try pumpkin puree (I just buy canned... it has fiber and lots of VitaminA). I stir it into yogurt (plain or vanilla) and you can make pancakes and waffles with pumpkin and of course pumpkin bread and muffins (with whole wheat flour and applesauce to replace the oil). Maybe it will be a hit with the 'orange theme'? :)

Dawn - posted on 02/25/2010

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oops I seen this on a show, I have no idea if it works but i am going to try. i heard you have to wait until they are no longer warm to serve or it wont work, plus i know it helps when you don't tell them it is in there. try either...

http://www.thesneakychef.com/free_recipe...

or

http://www.oprah.com/food/Brownies-with-...

i think i am going to attempt this with the boxed brownies first.


I do have to add, my son loves carrots and sweet potatoes, orange is a thing I guess LOL.

Dawn - posted on 02/25/2010

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Thnaks a lot for your help, for both you you I am going to give that a try, those a try I should say and post how that goes. thanks.

Annie - posted on 02/24/2010

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I struggle to get my kiddos to eat the good stuff too. Not so much texture but stuborness.lol I just keep putting it out there for them; tonight I made turkey sausage and Zucchini and steamed carrots on the side with some grapes and thats all I offered. My boys are the picky ones; the're 1 and 2. Then My four year old girl will try anything and generally she likes it. You will have to let me know if you figure out anything more concrete. All I can do is hide them in their food or just put them out there in case they get a wild hair and want to give it a go.lol They did eat their dinner too so that was one I can mark as a keeper. ;o)

Maybelline - posted on 02/24/2010

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My daughter spits out food with different textures, too. I started grinding or mashing vegetables into foods she loves like mashed potatoes, noodles, or rice. I grind up veggies like broccoli, carrots, squash, or peas. She doesn't even notice they're in there. She also loves whole wheat pancakes and I put banana slices and blueberries to make sure she gets some fruit. Hope this helps!

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