We all know that left to choose their own diet most kids would consume huge quantities of sugar and salt and noxious flavour enhancers. Junk food is addictive and no one is more susceptible to its allure than the youth of today. Getting children to enjoy healthy food is tricky – every parent will tell you – but not impossible.
From an early age, it’s important to encourage your child to eat as wide a range of food as possible and it’s your job to ensure that the wide range of food on offer is healthy and nutritious. No one is more conservative in their eating habits than a five-year-old but here are some suggestions that might just help nudge them in a healthier direction.
1. Pasta with chicken and veg in a tomato sauce
Kids love pasta and this easy-to-make recipe will ensure they’re getting a nutritious meal without even realising. If they really are set against the vegetables though, try substituting white pasta in a bolognese with wholemeal pasta; the taste barely changes but it’s so much better for them.
- 3 chopped cooked chicken thighs
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 400g tin of tomatoes
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 small tin of sweetcorn
- 200g frozen peas
- A good pinch of mixed herbs
- Grated cheese to serve
- Heat the oil and chop the onion and garlic, then add to the hot oil and fry until soft.
- Add tomatoes and stock cube and simmer for five minutes, then add herbs, chicken and peas.
- Serve with pasta of your choice and grated cheese.
2. Lentil Burgers
Just the word ‘burgers’ is enough to get most youngsters salivating but it’s yet another food that most parents will try to steer clear of. With this great recipe you can give the kids exactly what they want while also being safe in the knowledge they’re getting a healthy meal packed full of one of the best superfoods. Once they’ve taken a bite of these delicious, nutritious treats they won’t give the absence of meat a second thought.
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 125g red lentils
- 400m vegetable stock
- 1 beaten egg
- 85g dried breadcrumbs
- Chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Chop the onion and garlic and fry in oil until soft.
- Add lentils and stock and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and mix with breadcrumbs, egg and herbs.
- Shape into small burgers.
- Brush with olive oil and bake in the oven on gas mark 6, 180 degrees for ten minutes.
- Serve with salad.
Friday Night Takeaway
If takeaway on a Friday is part of your family life, then don’t despair their favourite takeaway can be healthy too. Avoid sauces as they’re likely to have high levels of salt and sugar and avoid ‘crispy’ foods, they’re sure to be deep fried. If Indian food is their favourite then you’ve plenty of choice: a dry dish like Tandoori Chicken with a half portion of boiled rice contains only 380 calories and 10g of fat; a vegetable curry is always a healthy option and if they like dahl then you’ve got them eating a number of superfoods as lentils, ginger and turmeric are absolutely packed with nutrients. If they prefer Chinese food then go for steamed vegetables and seafood and if they insist on pizza then try and get them to go for a half pizza, skip the cheese and pile on the salad.