According to the New York State Department of Health, the number of overweight children in the United States has increased dramatically in recent years. In fact, about 10% of 4-5 year old children are overweight, which is about double that of 20 years ago. For ages 6-11, at least 1 in every 5 children are overweight. This is also nearly double the number of overweight 6-11 year olds than 20 years ago. These numbers are alarming for any parent. While children may not generally gravitate towards healthy foods, it’s important to prioritize health when you’re cooking kid friendly meals in the kitchen. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be difficult to make easy kids meals that are healthy. Check out some of these meals that are both delicious and nutritious, too!
Classic Easy Kids Meals Made Healthy
We all remember our favorite meals as a kid. Now it’s time to put the classics on the treadmill and make ‘em healthy. Here are some great easy kids meals made healthier:
- Pigs in a Blanket: Get crescent rolls that are reduced in fat instead of using the fatty brands. The reduced fat crescent rolls are just as flakey and delicious. When you’re buying the “pigs” of pigs in a blanket, buy beef franks with no additives and try to get the brand with lower sodium.
- Sloppy Joe Sliders: Sloppy Joes don’t have to be that sloppy. Just add mushrooms and tomatoes to beef to make your child’s sandwich healthier and put your Joe on whole wheat rolls. By putting the meat on rolls, you’ll be making each sandwich smaller, helping your kids better moderate how much their eating and not overeat.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly: Peanut butter and jelly can be either extremely healthy, or, well, a bit unhealthy, depending on the brands and types of ingredients you use. Swap that Wonderbread for a whole grain loaf, to start. Then, try and find a nut butter that has no trans fats with low sodium, like hazelnut or even almond butter. Use spreads over jellies since spreads usually have less sugar and real fruit. Double check the sugar content of your jam to make sure it’s not through the roof, and you’ll have yourself a pretty healthy PB&J.
- Sausage ‘n’ Spinach Pockets: Your kids may love their Hot Pockets, but these meals aren’t exactly heart healthy. Make your own version, just brown sausage, onion, and garlic, and add spinach and mushrooms cheese to the mix for a serving of veggies. Keep it healthier by using reduced fat crust for your dough and make the pockets fairly small so that, again, your child can moderate their portions.
- Zucchini Fritters and Eggs: Kids may enjoy some hash browns with their eggs, but you don’t have to make fritters out of starchy potatoes for them to be delicious. Zucchini fritters are scrumptious and healthy. You can make fritters with shredded zucchini 1/3 cup of Bisquick, salt and pepper and a dash of oil. Simply fry ‘til golden brown, then serve alongside some scrambled eggs and low sodium sausage.
Keep your children healthy and happy with these kid friendly healthy meal ideas for families that are also super easy. Always be looking at ways to improve side dishes too, with baked sweet potato fries over regular French fries or baked chicken nuggets over fried chicken. And remember: healthy eating habits are established at a young age, so take initiative and start feeding your kids healthy meals as soon as you can get your hands on a pan.