Despite the proven health benefits of fruits and vegetables, only one in 10 U.S. adults eats enough of them.
This unhealthy habit, unfortunately, is passing on to the nation’s children.
One study found that one in five one-year-old kids didn’t eat any vegetables during the study. The researchers noted the same thing for every one in four 6- to 11-month-old babies.
This may explain why more than half of kids in the U.S. suffer from one or more chronic illnesses.
All these should already tell you how crucial it is to develop healthy eating habits for kids. The earlier you get to help your little ones eat healthier, the lower their risks for illnesses.
The good news is, there are ways to make even the fussiest eater enjoy these healthy yet tasty foods.
Ready to find out how to get kids to eat healthy? Then keep reading to learn of the healthiest foods that’ll make your little ones lick their chops!
Whole-Grain Pancakes or Waffles
Whole grains, such as 100% whole wheat flour, are high in fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like manganese. Whole-grain foods also contain antioxidants, which can help reduce risks of heart diseases. Moreover, they’re rich in plant compounds, like polyphenols, which can help prevent diseases.
The only drawback to these healthy foods for kids is that they can be a bit bitter.
Fortunately, the ingredients in whole-wheat flour pancakes and waffles will reduce this bitterness. To make it even healthier, substitute regular milk with almond, coconut, or oat milk. You can also swap out the butter with healthier oils, like extra virgin olive oil.
Some shredded coconut as a topping can also help minimize the bitter taste of whole wheat flour. Go easy on the syrup, or use fruit jam instead.
Grilled Chicken Kebabs
Even picky eaters like meat, so if your little one tends to snub chicken breast, the trick is to skewer it. Cut it into cubes and marinate it in yogurt. Yogurt is another healthy food for kids (and adults!) as it has shown to help boost immune system functions.
Also, yogurt will make your chicken kebabs creamier and more tender. It’ll help lock in moisture, so your kids will love snacking on these juicy, fat-less chunks of chicken.
As for seasoning, simply add a dash of sea salt, black pepper, and some garlic. If you want to use oil, stick to extra virgin olive oil, which is also packed with plant polyphenols.
Chickpeas, on their own, are high in vitamins A, C, and E, dietary fiber, protein, magnesium, folate, and iron. Recent studies have also found this legume to have weight loss potential. Moreover, researchers say that chickpeas may have a positive effect on cardiovascular diseases.
Chickpeas may not look that appetizing to your kids though if you serve it straight out of the can. However, roasting them with a bit of olive oil and some salt and pepper can turn them into a crunchy treat. To ensure they turn crispy, pat them dry before adding the oil.
Speaking of chickpeas, another great way to introduce them to your kids is by making hummus. Hummus is healthier than most other dips and dressings, and it’s super tasty and versatile too. You can spread hummus on bread or serve it as a dip for pita chips and veggie sticks.
You can make hummus by using cooked, mashed chickpeas mixed with olive oil, lemon juice, and tahini. Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds, making it a healthy condiment. Sesame seeds, after all, are rich in plant proteins, B vitamins, and antioxidants.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
French fries are no doubt tasty, but baked sweet potato fries can be just as good. The baked version is a healthier alternative since it requires far less oil (you can use olive oil too!). Also, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, fiber, calcium, iron, as well as B and C vitamins.
Since sweet potato fries resemble “French fries”, it’ll be easier to get your kids to try them out.
Other alternatives to fried potato are kale chips and parmesan zucchini fries. You can also alternate these with roasted parsnip fries. Baked green beans tempura can also satisfy your kids’ cravings for crispy foods.
Veggie dumplings aren’t only healthy — they can also be pretty and fun to make with your children. You can fill these pasta-like pockets with minced mushrooms, cabbage, and carrots. You can also use mashed chickpeas as the filling.
Alternatively, you can mix ground chicken breast with vegetable filling. Once your kids get used to eating the vegetables, they’ll be more inclined to try the pure veggie version.
Fruits in Treats
Being creative in what you serve your little ones is key to getting them to eat fruits and veggies. For instance, instead of serving dried fruit out of a box, add them to baked goodies instead. You can try out these recipes with raisins for kids, or better yet, make them with your little ones.
Frozen yogurt with fruits is another healthy food for children. These frozen treats usually have lower saturated fat content than normal ice cream. They also have fewer calories and lower sugar content.
If you make them at home, it’ll be even easier to control their sugar and fat content. Plus, your kids are more likely to try them if they help prepare it.
Make It Easier to Develop Healthy Eating Habits for Kids
There you have it, your guide to the nutritious yet tasty foods to develop healthy eating habits for kids. By introducing these meals and treats to your little ones, you can make it easier for them to eat healthier. Plus, preparing them with your kids is a good way to spend quality bonding time with them.
Ready for more fun-to-make recipes that are as tasty as they are healthy? Then be sure to visit and bookmark the Healthy Living & Eating section for even more guides like this!