There are lots of great healthy recipes for kids, including recipes they can make with you! Growing up, helping my mom in the kitchen was one of my favorite things to do. Our time together in the kitchen instructed me how to cook, let me spend time with my very best friend, and taught me lots of valuable nutritional information. I can't wait to do the same thing with my own children some day! If you want to spend time with your little ones in the kitchen, take a look at these healthy recipes for kids and make nutrition fun for them!
1. Chunky Fish Fingers
What kid doesn't love fish sticks? Immediately, this doesn't seem like it would number among any healthy recipes for kids, but it is very healthy, especially compared to the alternative! The recipe calls for haddock for a nice, light taste, and the addition of turmeric adds a nice bite! Keep in mind, you can use whatever kind of oil you prefer.
500g skinless, boneless chunky white fish fillet (we used haddock), cut into neat thumb-sized strips
100g plain flour , seasoned
3 large eggs , beaten
200g dried breadcrumbs
large pinch turmeric (optional)
vegetable oil, for frying
Grown ups and children: Get 3 shallow dishes and set up a production line of flour then egg then breadcrumbs. Children can pour the ingredients into each dish and crack and beat the eggs. If you want the breadcrumbs to be golden then mix through the turmeric. Place a large empty plate at the end of the line to put the uncooked fish fingers on.
Children: Show children how to methodically dip a finger of fish in the flour, shaking off any excess, then dredge it through the egg and finally roll it in the breadcrumbs so it's completely coated and place it on the plate. This is a job kids as young as 2 can help with but it's a messy one so they may need a wipe down halfway through. The fish fingers can now be laid on a tray and frozen then placed into a bag.
Grown ups: To cook the fingers heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the fingers for 3-4 mins on each side. Place on a tray lined with kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven, if cooking in batches. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas mark 6. Brush a tray with a little oil, cook the fish fingers for about 10 - 12 mins until golden and cooked through, turn over half way through cooking time.
2. Tasty Tots
What's the best accompaniment for fish sticks? Tater tots, of course! However, these aren't your average tots. Rather, they use sweet potatoes and chick peas, which are much, much healthier. Fun additions like cinnamon make for an out of this world taste that adults will love, too!
1½ pounds sweet potatoes
¾ cup chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), undrained
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Steam or boil sweet potatoes until barely tender, approximately 15 minutes. Let cool.
Peel cooled potatoes. Shred them using a grater or food processor.
Puree chickpeas, including liquid, until smooth.
Combine shredded sweet potatoes and chickpeas in a large bowl.
Add oil, salt, pepper, onion powder, and cinnamon. Mix well.
Spray sheet pans with cooking spray.
Scoop heaping tablespoons of the mixture and place 1 inch apart on prepared sheet pans.
Bake in oven for approximately 10-12 minutes, until starting to brown.
3. Chicken Chow Mein
Here's a super tasty, super healthy take on your favorite takeout food! This recipe is excellent, with fresh ginger and garlic, plus healthy alternatives, like reduced-salt soy sauce. The kids will have tons of fun putting together the ingredients, especially the peppers and onions.
thumb-size piece fresh root ginger
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce
1 large red pepper
5 spring onions
half a 400g bag beansprouts
1 large or 2 small chicken breasts
3 nests medium egg noodles
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Use a potato peeler to remove the skin from the ginger. Discard skin, then carefully grate 1 tbsp from the root. Put in a bowl, crush in the garlic, and add the ketchup, oyster sauce, soy sauce and 3 tbsp water. Stir.
Use a sharp knife to cut the pepper into quarters on a board. Remove the seeds and stalk, then slice diagonally into strips. Cut the ends from the spring onions, and cut the green and white of the onion length ways. Open the bag of beansprouts. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
Boil a large pan of water on the hob. when the water is boiling, drop in the noodles, turn off the heat and set the timer to 4 mins. when the time is up, drain in a colander or a large sieve in the sink. ask an adult to help you.
With everything prepared, you can now start cooking. Heat the wok - it's hot enough when it starts to smoke. add the oil and chicken. Use a wooden spoon to keep moving the chicken around the wok until it is half white, half pink. add the pepper and stir-fry for a further 1 min.
Pour the sauce into the wok and stir well until bubbling.
Add the noodles, beansprouts and spring onions a handful at a time, then toss into the sauce until it is well coated, stirring constantly until the beansprouts wilt. Serve in bowls - an easy way is to use tongs.
4. Confetti Soup
This recipe is fun to make, fun to eat, and even fun to look at! It's a wonderful soup ideal for cold days, filled with fresh vegetables and healthy ingredients. Make sure you get the freshest veggies and herbs, they'll make the soup taste so much better!
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cups raw carrots, diced
1/3 cup raw kale, chopped
¼ cup onion, chopped
¼ cup celery, chopped
½ teaspoon black pepper
3½ cups water
2 tablespoons raw parsley
¼ teaspoon whole fennel seed
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 pound black-eyed peas
½ pound turkey ham
½ teaspoon salt
Place a large pot over medium high heat. Add the oil, chopped onion, and chopped celery and cook until translucent (the pieces will be soft and you can sort of see through them).
Add the diced carrots, salt, pepper, fennel seed, and crushed red pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the black-eyed peas and water and cook for 25-30 minutes.
When the peas are soft, add the turkey ham and kale and cook for another 10 minutes until the kale is tender.
Adjust seasoning (if necessary) and serve.
5. Mac-N-Cheese Muffin Surprise
Automatically, a recipe that includes macaroni and cheese and muffins probably doesn't sound that healthy, right? However, this is a healthier version of a huge favorite, one your kids will love to make and to eat. Thanks to whole wheat pasta and lots of vegetables, I promise, it's not as unhealthy as it initially sounds!
¾ Lb. whole wheat pasta
½ gallon 1% milk
3 ¼ cup low fat cheddar cheese
¼ cup diced broccoli
¼ cup diced sun dried tomato
¼ cup diced red peppers
¼ diced carrots
¼ cup of diced red onion
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. of Smart Balance Butter
Boil water and add pasta, turning down the heat to medium. Drain but do not rinse off.
In a sauce pan bring milk to a slight boil add 3 cups of cheddar cheese, stirring constantly
with wire whip and until blended. Add 1 tbsp. of flour to mixture, simmer for 10 minutes.
Dice vegetables and sauté them with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Be careful not to overcook, vegetables, they should be al dente.
Add your vegetables and cheese sauce to pasta, mix together
In a small bowl mix ¼ cups of panko crumbs with 1 tablespoon of smart balance butter
Grease muffin tins. Using a 4oz scoop, scoop mixture into each tin; top each one with a
sprinkle of bread crumb mixture and a little shredded cheddar cheese. Garnish with a piece of sun dried tomato and a fresh parsley sprig. You can also take a little of the cheese sauce
and put a dollop down on each plate and place the muffin on top.
6. Pizzadillas with Red Sauce
Most kids love pizza, and they love making it themselves (or with their parents' help!), as well. This one is sure to be a big hit, especially since it mixes mini pizzas with quesadillas. The kids will adore pretending like the kitchen is their own pizzeria, and you'll love the healthy ingredients, like whole wheat tortillas and spinach! Of course, pizza and quesdillas are both endlessly adaptable, so feel free to let the children experiment with their favorite additions.
4 whole-wheat tortillas (8 inches)
2/3 cup fresh or frozen spinach, finely chopped
2/3 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)
Lay 2 tortillas on a flat surface. Divide spinach and cheese between the tortillas.
Top with remaining 2 tortillas.
Place skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat pan with cooking spray.
Gently slide 1 pizzadilla into the pan and cook until light golden brown on one side (about 1-2 minutes).
Using a thin spatula, gently flip over the pizzadilla and cook for 30-60 seconds more or until cheese is fully melted.
Remove pizzadilla and cut into triangles. Repeat with remaining pizzadilla.
Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
You can wrap and refrigerate leftovers to take to school for lunch.
7. Pinto Bean and Cheese Tacos
Tacos are almost as popular as pizza, so these are bound to be winners as well. Since there's no meat, you won't have any fat or grease with which to contend, but there's still plenty of protein. Again, if your kids like different vegetables and toppings with their tacos, experiment! Recipes are just guidelines, so make them your own!
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed
3/4 cup mild salsa
1 heart of romaine
8 taco shells
1 cup shredded Cheddar
In a small microwave-proof bowl, combine the beans and ½ cup of the salsa. Microwave on high until hot, 1 to 2 minutes.
Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces.
Divide the taco shells among 4 plates. Divide the bean mixture among the taco shells and top with the lettuce, Cheddar, and remaining ¼ cup of salsa.
8. Porcupine Sliders
The name of this recipe first caught my attention, as you might imagine. Don't worry; no porcupines will be harmed in the making of these sliders. Actually, the wee burgers are made using lean ground turkey, but they get their bulk from additions like brown rice, onions, celery, and even dried cranberries!
1/3 cup brown rice, uncooked
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon canola oil
1½ tablespoons yellow onion, chopped
1 medium stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey, extra lean
1 large egg
1½ tablespoons dried cranberries
¾ cup spinach leaves
¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch ground red pepper
Small wheat rolls
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cook rice according to package directions and include the ½ teaspoon of salt. When done, drain well and spread on a sheet pan to cool completely.
Add canola oil to heated skillet. Add onion, celery, and garlic and sauté until soft (about 5 minutes). Transfer to sheet pan with rice and cool completely.
In a large mixing bowl, combine turkey, egg, cranberries, spinach, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and red pepper. Mix well.
Add rice and vegetable mixture to turkey mixture.
Form into 6 patties. Place on sheet pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes until turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
Serve on whole-wheat rolls with optional lettuce, tomato, and red onion.
There's nothing better than preparing delicious, healthy meals for your children – unless it's preparing delicious, healthy meals with your children! Show them that food can be yummy and good for them, all while spending quality time with them during their most important, formative years. What are some of your favorite healthy recipes for kids?