Make Your Kids Want to Eat Healthy
Getting kids to eat healthy is not always an easy undertaking. A lot of times, if it’s not in nugget form, it’s not going to get eaten. So when it comes to getting picky eaters to chow down on fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods, resorting to stealth tactics is sometimes the best bet. Lucky for parents, there are lots of ways to turn unhealthy kid-favorites into more nutritious, balanced meals without kids ever noticing—follow these guidelines for happier eaters and less stress at dinnertime,
Let Them Help
Getting kids involved in the kitchen is one of the best ways to encourage them to expand their eating habits. Making food yourself tends to taste that much better than having it set down in front of you, so give kids simple tasks to do when you cook dinner to make them feel involved. Whether it’s choosing the protein or stirring ingredients, kids are much more likely to eat food they have helped create, even if it’s not one of their usual meal choices.
Make Food Sound Fun
If you’re serving something that kids may be hesitant to eat, make your dish sound more appealing by giving it a fun name. For instance, calling breaded fish simply “fish with breadcrumbs” is not going to sound nearly as appealing as “crispy crunchy fish sticks.” Embellishing the names of dishes to sound more kid-friendly does mean your food is any less healthy or delicious, so go crazy with the adjectives and rhyming when describing dinner!
Sneak In Nutrients
Adding in healthy ingredients doesn’t have to be obvious. Sneaking in nutritious elements will allow kids to eat healthier while still enjoying their favorite meals. Blending spinach or other vegetables into a fruit smoothie, for example, is the perfect way to up the nutritional content of a snack kids already love—the fruits will mask the taste of the vegetables so kids won’t even know they’re in there. Another sneaky technique is to add healthy ingredients to meals kids already love, since they’ll be more likely to eat something they know they like. Add some extra veggies into tacos, casseroles or macaroni and cheese or blend in some cauliflower with your mashed potatoes for healthier versions of popular kid favorites.
Try out this recipe for Taco-Roni the next time you need a quick weeknight meal to feed your family. It’s one of those easy recipes for dinner that is sure to become part of your cooking rotation. With kid-friendly ingredients and a fun name, this is grown-up twist on a kid favorite will please kids and adults alike. And with a whole lot of protein and only 30 minutes of cook time required, you can feel great about serving it to your family. Enjoy!
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 25 min
Calories: 249 per serving
- 2 cans (15 oz each) Chef Boyardee® Beefaroni® Pasta
- 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes, drained
- 1 can (15 oz each) Rosarita® Premium Whole Black Beans, drained, rinsed
- 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese blend
- 1/2 cup broken yellow tortilla chips
- Place Beefaroni, drained tomatoes, beans, corn and cumin in large saucepan; stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and broken chips just before serving.
Use whole-grain Beefaroni for an extra dose of fiber—your family won’t even notice the difference!
Let kids get involved with the meal by letting them add ingredients to the sauce pan or break up the tortilla chips.
About the author: Meredith writes on behalf of Ready Set Eat. ReadySetEat helps you solve the “What’s for dinner?” question by giving you kid-friendly dinner ideas that you can make in 30 minutes or less with a few common ingredients you’re likely to have in your kitchen.