Buying and cooking fresh, seasonal foods is not only healthier but can also be friendlier on the wallet compared to prepackaged meals and eating fast food. Getting your kids to eat healthy is a great way to encourage a lifelong trend of healthy habits, but sometimes getting kids to eat healthy foods is about as successful and painful as trying to give yourself a root canal! But don’t despair! There are ways to get your little foodie-in-the-making to eat healthy. It may take some out-of-the-box thinking and a little trickery (disclosure: I don’t condone the act of deceiving, but in this case, all is forgiven—haha!), but you can get your child (and even the adults in the house) to eat and even enjoy healthy food!

Apples

There are oh-so-many ways you can transform delicious apples, but one way—that kids love—is by making apple chips! Cut up an apple and throw it on a food dehydrator for a few hours. No dehydrator, no problem! I cut apple slices really thin, spread them on a lightly greased cookie sheet, sprinkle with a little fresh lemon juice and cinnamon, then bake at 200 degrees for 3 hours.

Cauliflower

One of the ways you can sneak cauliflower into the mix is by steaming it until really tender, mashing it up really well and using it as a substitute for rice.

Carrots

Mix shredded carrots into your favorite whole wheat muffin recipe (similar to yummy carrot cake).

Pumpkin

You can add pumpkin to whole wheat pancakes—they’re so delicious and filling! Here’s one of my recipes:

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp nutmeg

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients. Add more milk for thinner pancakes.
2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-high heat. Pour or scoop batter onto the heated griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Flip when edges seem dry.

Zucchini

 Zucchini fries are a favorite in my house. Cut zucchini into fries, dredge in eggs then in a bread mixture (I toast whole wheat bread, put it into a chopper, then add pepper, basil and a touch of sea salt). Bake for about 20 minutes or until soft (or crunchy, depending on the thickness you cut the fries and your preference).

Broccoli

Try mixing steamed, mashed broccoli into your favorite meatloaf recipe. Sub the ground beef for ground chicken or turkey (with turkey you may want to add a little milk or some additional moisture because turkey can get dry).

Lentils

Try cooked lentils instead of ground beef in recipes. Or sub half the ground meat called for with cooked lentils. Not only are lentils healthier than ground meat, but they’re also much cheaper! I made a vegetarian taco casserole this past week and used lentils instead of meat. My husband, who believes a meal is only complete with meat, even enjoyed it—Success!

Quinoa

Add cooked quinoa to your favorite meatball recipe.

Flax seeds

You can add flax seeds to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal and pretty much anything you want because it has no taste. It’s an easy way to get brain-building, omega-3 into anyone's diet. You can get a big box of flax seeds that will last you a long time for around $2.

Avocado

Make chocolate pudding! Yes, you read that right…. Mix 1 ripe avocado, 4 ripe bananas, 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa and a few splashes of milk (I used rice milk, but use whatever milk you prefer). Blend all together until smooth and put it in the refrigerator to chill. It’s so good, and you would never know that avocado is in the dish!

This is a guest post by Kristy from Thibodaux, LA.

 

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