Thursday, 26 October 2017
Kids

8 Healthy Dinner Ideas for Kids

healthy dinner ideas for kids

Every parent desires to give their children the full complement of nutrients with every meal, so that they grow healthier, stronger and taller. Now, the problem is that healthy foods are often either bland or largely unappetizing to your tiny tots, who would rather ditch those wishy-washy veggies for a crispy, calorie-rich burger from their favorite fast food joint. However, it’s important for you to know that healthy does not necessarily mean tasteless, and it’s quite possible to get your kids to eat their fruits and veggies without compromising on the taste quotient.

The following are a few healthy dinner ideas for kids that make for balanced and satisfying meals at the end of a long, tiring day.

1- Cheesy Broccoli Potato Mash

Mashing bite-sized florets of broccoli with potatoes and cheese might just be the secret to getting your tiny tots to eat their daily dose of leafy greens. The flavor of fontina cheese when paired with broccoli makes for a gooey spoonful, while the addition of broccoli to the potatoes adds an interesting color to the dish.

Preparation Time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Number of Servings: 6

Food Groups: Dairy, Vegetables

Nutrition Content : Source of Calcium, Source of Fiber

Ingredients :

1 pound of Yukon Gold Potatoes

3/4 cup of shredded Fontina Cheese

3/4 pound of chopped Broccoli crowns

1/2 cup of heated fat-free Milk

Freshly ground Pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon of Salt

Directions

-Boil water in a large pot. Then place potatoes cut into wedges in a steamer basket and let them steam for around 10 minutes. Place the broccoli on top, and steam till the potatoes and broccoli become tender. This should take roughly 6-8 minutes.

-Transfer the broccoli to another bowl and mash coarsely with the help of a potato masher. Add in the potatoes, milk, salt, cheese, and pepper and continue to mash until you get the desired consistency.

-Serve instantly.

2- Chicken Crunchers

A healthy alternative to fried chicken, this tasty and crunchy appetizer is not just gastronomically delightful but also does oodles of good to your health with its high protein content. And the best part is that you don’t need to rush to the supermarket to get all the ingredients for this dish as they are most likely present in your larder or refrigerator. Quick to make and yum to taste, chicken crunchers are perfect for those nights when your kids wish to rewind post-exams with an intriguing video game.

Preparation Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Number of Servings: 6

Food Groups: Dairy, Protein

Nutrition Content: Source of Calcium

Ingredients :

6 Chicken breast filet

1 cup of all-purpose Flour

4 Egg whites

1 1/2 cups of Cornflakes

1/2 of cup Milk

1 cup (4 ounces) of shredded Cheddar Cheese

Non-stick cooking spray

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions :

-Preheat the oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit. Assemble three separate bowls with the following ingredients: flour mixed with salt and pepper, egg wash, made by whisking milk and eggs together, and cornflakes mixed with cheese.

-Spray non-stick cooking spray on a baking pan. Then dip bite-sized chicken pieces in flour and then dip them again into the egg-wash. After that, roll them in the mixture of cheesy flakes and place them on the baking pan. Ensure to coat the chicken pieces well and discard any unused cornflakes mixture.

-Bake for 20-25 minutes and turn halfway through to enable even browning.

-Serve piping hot with a tiny bowl of ketchup or BBQ sauce.

3- Chili Cornbread Pie

Cornbread Chili combines the delicious hot flavors of chili with the crusty, crispy cornbread for a healthy and hearty meal that is sure to impress your kids and leave them wanting for more. Perfect for fall evenings and winter nights, this one-dish casserole is easy to prepare, and a real crowd pleaser. And the fact that it’s loaded with vegetables, fiber and proteins just makes it perfect for fussy eaters.

Preparation Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Number of Servings: 6

Food Groups: Dairy, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables

Nutrition Content: Source of Calcium, Source of Fiber

Ingredients :

-1 medium of chopped Onion

8 ounces of thawed frozen Spinach

2 15-ounce cans of prepared Chili

1 cup of shredded and reduced-fat Mexican blend/ Cheddar cheese

4 ounces of canned green chilies (optional)

1 12-ounce box of Cornbread mix

Directions :

-Preheat the oven to 450 degree Fahrenheit. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.

-Coat the nonstick skillet with some cooking stray and keep it over medium-high heat. As soon as it’s hot, add in the onion and saute until it gets tender and translucent. Then, add in the chili and spinach and stir well until they all combine and cook through.

-Add the skillet mixture to the baking dish prepared earlier. Sprinkle some cheese over the top.

-In a bowl, blend the cornbread mix and two-thirds cup of water. Keep stirring the mixture until it’s smooth. Pour the batter over the mixture in the baking dish.

-Bake the casserole for 30 minutes or till the cornbread crust turns golden brown.

4- Apple-Cheddar Panini

This simple yet delicious Panini combines the yummy flavors of apple, cheddar and honey mustard, and takes little time to prepare. Being sweet and savory at the same time, it appeals to the taste buds of even the most pickiest of eaters, and gives you the chance to sneak in the goodness of apples and dairy products. All in all, a perfect meatless meal for school nights!

Servings: 4

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Food Groups: Dairy, Grains, Fruits

Nutrition Content: Source of Calcium, Source of Fiber

Ingredients :

8 slices of whole-grain Bread

1/4 cup of low-fat honey Mustard

2 crisp thinly sliced apples

8 ounces thinly sliced, low-fat Cheddar cheese

Directions :

-Preheat the panini press on medium-high heat, or instead, use two heavy skillets to press the panini while cooking.

-Spread the honey mustard evenly and lightly over each slice of bread.

-Then layer apple slices and Cheddar cheese over four slices of bread, using around half-an-apple and two ounces of cheese for each sandwich. Thereafter, lightly coat the panini press with the cooking spray.

-Grill each sandwich for 5 minutes or till the bread has toasted and the cheese has melted.

-Remove from pan, and let it cool for sometime before serving. Enjoy!

5- Garlic Pasta with Shrimp & Vegetables

A Middle-Eastern wholesome meal with the right blend of savory, spicy and tangy flavors is exactly what your kids need to end the day on a good note. This creamy, gooey pasta based on Mediterranean-inspired yogurt sauce pairs perfectly with lemon juice and garlic for a robust sauce, which complements asparagus and peppers for a refreshing and fulfilling meal. Serve with tomato or cucumber slices tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.

Number of Servings: 4

Preparation Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Food Groups: Vegetables, Dairy, Grains, Protein

Nutrition Content: Source of Calcium, Source of Fiber

Ingredients:

6 ounces of whole-wheat Spaghetti

12 ounces of peeled raw Shrimp cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large of thinly sliced red bell Pepper

1 bunch of trimmed and thinly sliced Asparagus

3 cloves of chopped Garlic

1 cup of fresh or frozen Peas

1 1/4 teaspoons of kosher Salt

3 tablespoons of Lemon juice

1 1/2 cups of low-fat Yogurt

1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground Pepper

1/4 cup of chopped Parsley

1 tablespoon of extra-virgin Olive oil

Optional: 1/4 cup of toasted Pine nuts

Directions :

-Boil water in a large pot. Thereafter, add in the spaghetti and cook for two minutes or according to the package instructions. Throw in the shrimp, peas, bell pepper and asparagus, and cook till the pasta is soft and tender and the shrimp cooked. Keep stirring the mixture for 4-5 minutes, and then drain the mixture well.

-Mash salt and garlic in a bowl till a paste forms. Whisk in some yogurt, lemon juice, oil, pepper, and parsley. Add in the pasta mix prepared in the earlier step and toss it to coat it well. Serve piping hot with toasted, or plain pine nuts.

6- Broccoli and Cheese

When you want to entice your kids to eat their daily dose of veggies (like broccoli or cabbage), cheese sauce can be be your friend in need. The creamy, flavorful sauce makes their taste buds water in delight and acts as the perfect covering to shield the rather bland pieces of broccoli lying below. As a nice side dish for most chicken or beef meals, it is heaped with nutrients to nourish the soul and body of your kids.

Number of Servings: 4

Preparation Time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking Time: less than 15 minutes

Food Groups: Dairy & Vegetables

Nutrition Content: Source of Calcium

Ingredients :

6 cups of rinsed Broccoli, cut into small florets

1 cup of fat-free evaporated Milk

1 tablespoon of Cornstarch

1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon of Hot sauce

1 slice of diced and toasted whole-wheat Bread (for croutons)

Directions :

-Boil a large pot of water over high heat. Add fresh broccoli and cook for 10 minutes or till it gets soft and tender. Drain the water and set aside.

-In another saucepan, combine cornstarch and evaporated milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring it every once in a while. As soon as the milk starts to boil, remove it from heat and add in the cheese. Keep stirring till the cheese has melted and mixed evenly.

-Add in hot sauces and Worcestershire and stir. Pour the cheese over hot broccoli.

-Thereafter, sprinkle whole-wheat croutons onto the broccoli and cheese mix, and serve piping hot.

7- Touchdown Taco Salad

A touchdown taco salad is a healthy spin to the traditional Mexican taco dish, which is typically quite notorious for being high in fat and calories. By replacing high-fat ground beef with lean meat, regular cheese with low-fat cheese and by omitting the sour cream altogether, you can allow your kids to enjoy this salad guilt-free!

Preparation Time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Number of Servings: 8

Food Groups: Dairy, Protein, Vegetables

Ingredients :

1/2 pound of lean ground Beef

1/2 cup of Salsa

1 1/2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese

8 cups of Salad greens

1 1/2 cup of Black beans

1 cup of chopped Tomato

Directions :

-Cook the brown beef in a non-stick skillet for some time and remove it from heat.

-Then stir in one cup of shredded cheese and one-fourth cup of pasta. Keep mixing till it has blended.

-Spoon the mix onto a serving platter.

-In a bowl, toss together tomatoes, black beans, salad greens and the remaining cheese and salsa.

-Add spoonfuls of salad over the meat mixture and serve.

8- Mini Chile Relleno Casseroles

Packed with the goodness of cheese and eggs and the red hot spicy flavors of diced Chiles, this casserole is a unique version of the traditional relleno. As a versatile dish, it complements with a wide variety of ingredients, ranging from shredded beef to green veggies. All in all, a perfect way to delight your kids and even trick them into having their daily dose of nutrients.

Preparation Time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 to 30 minutes

Number of Servings: 4

Food Groups: Dairy, Vegetables, Protein

Nutrition Content: Source of Calcium

Ingredients :

2 4-ounce cans of diced green Chiles

3/4 cup of frozen Corn

4 thinly sliced Scallions

1 1/2 cups of fat-free Milk

1 cup of shredded and reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

4 large Eggs

6 large egg Whites

1/4 teaspoon Salt

Directions :

-Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit. Then, coat heatproof ramekins with cooking spray and keep them on a baking sheet.
-Divide equal amounts of corn, scallions and green chiles among the ramekins. Top them with cheese. Then whisk eggs, milk, salt and egg whites in a bowl until they blend to form a uniform mixture. Distribute the egg mix evenly among the ramekins.

-Proceed to bake the mini casseroles till the tops start to brown and eggs are set. This should take no more than 25 minutes for 5-6 ounce ramekins and around 30-35 minutes for the 10-ounce ones.

Ending Note…

Dinner doesn’t have to be constant conflict between your kid’s tastes and health requirements. The aforementioned healthy dinner ideas for kids give you ample ways to churn up delicacies after delicacies without compromising on their nutritional value. So smile, wear your apron, gather all the ingredients and start cooking any of the meals above to impress your kids and family tonight.

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