I have a secret to tell you.
Kid-friendly food is kid-friendly because it’s easy for kids to eat.
It tastes good and doesn’t require a lot of effort to eat.
It fits their biological make-up and desire for sweet flavours (considered safe) vs. bitter flavours (considered poisonous).
The fact that these foods are easier for them to eat makes it’s easier for us, right? There’s less drama at the table and everyone is happy.
But I know it can feel icky giving your child those kid-friendly foods that aren’t necessarily nutrient-rich. And then you find yourself nibbling on the same foods, or eating the leftovers which doesn’t feel so great after.
Are any of these foods/beverages on rotation at your house?
- Chicken fingers
- Mac & Cheese
- Hot Dogs
But guess what, not ALL kid-friendly foods are lacking nutrition. And there are ways to keep them kid-friendly while injecting some nutrition. #winning
I know parents are just looking for ways to do a little better with feeding their family. I also like to keep things simple. So this blog post idea came to me after posting this in my Facebook Group and seeing the discussion unfold.
Kid-Friendly Swap #1 – Juice
We focus mostly on making food healthier. However, many of us have kiddos that love their beverages…like JUICE. While we don’t have it in our house, when we’re somewhere where juice is offered, I get a little sneaky deeky. I water down juice by 75%, meaning I would add 3/4 water to a 1/4 cup of juice.
But guess what?! I don’t need to be sneaky anymore because someone else is doing that for me (and you).
Check out Oasis Hydra Fruit juice boxes that have 60% less sugar (11 gms vs. 25 grams in their original version!). That’s because there is more water than juice.
That’s one way to do better right?!
Kid-Friendly Food Swap #2 – Pizza
Surprisingly, there are some children who dislike pizza. However, the majority (including my children) are fans. There’s a reason that pizza is the obligatory birthday party food served to children. Bread. Cheese. Sauce (that’s the veggie!) and more cheese.
But guess what?! Did you know you can get a serving of veggies into your family without even putting it on the pizza.
Check out these Caulipower Pizza Crusts popping up in virtually every store it seems. There’s a half-serving of cauliflower in every serving. Not perfect, but better than nothing at all.
Their pizzas have less than half the sugar of leading gluten-free pizzas (less than half!) and are lower in calories, sugar, fat, and sodium. They’re also higher in protein, fiber, and vitamins than most pizzas, while being naturally nutrient-rich.
Psst…you can make virtually any carb-based food with cauliflower. There’s an entire recipe book full of ideas!
Kid-Friendly Food Swap #3 – Pasta
When you ask my girls what their favourite foods are they say:
Their Italian heritage must be the reason for their pizza and pasta obsession (wink, wink). The sushi….can’t explain that one other than the fact that I am also a lover of maki and sashimi. But they do love sushi pizza.
But we’re not talking sushi for this food swap. It’s pasta because it’s an easy dinner to make, so why not make it healthier. Sure you can blend veggies into the sauce or boost their fats with some pesto, yet did you know you can also get also veggies into the noodles themselves?
There’s more than one way to do that:
- Make zucchini noodles
- Make sweet potato noodles
- Make carrot noodles
While the above options are 100% nutritionist-approved, they are a stretch from the kid-friendly pasta variety. So let’s meet in the middle with a pasta that actually looks like pasta, plus has vegetables as the base.
The pasta I recommend is GoGo Quinoa Organic Cauliflower Fusilli but you’d never know cauliflower was the hidden ingredient. Yes, it’s cauliflower again!
If you want both, here’s a bundle cauliflower pizza and pasta deal I just stumbled on.
Ok, it’s just about time to sneak away from my desk and soak up this rare sunny day in Toronto. I don’t know about you but rainy days with children cooped up indoors is no fun for anyone.
Please let me know you enjoy these food swaps and I’ll make sure I keep sending them your way.
Have you tried any of the above? What did your family think?
Thanks for this. I checked out the cauliflower crust and used the location finder to see if it was in stores in my small city (thinking it wouldn’t be) and it is! I’ll definitely be checking it out.
Another noodle substitute we do is finely shredded cabbage (red or green) sautéd in grass fed butter or coconut oil with a little broth to help it cook down. Surprisingly my 2 year old love these noodles.