Raising Healthy Eaters (+2 kid friendly recipes!)

Tips to Involve Your Children in the Kitchen

Image via Pixabay
  1. Meal planning
    • Kids like to have options, provide them with some meal ideas and have them weigh in. Plan your weekly menu together.
  2. Grocery Shopping
    • Your child can help you create the grocery list. This will make them more familiar with the different food items. In the store, have them help you push the cart and teach them what to look for for high quality fruits and vegetables.
  3. Back at Home
    • Have your kids help you bring in the groceries and put them where they belong if they are old enough.
  4. Get Cooking Together
    • When your kids are around the age of 3, helping in the kitchen can boost their confidence and self esteem and can encourage them to try new foods.
    • They can:
      • Take ingredients out of the pantry or refrigerator for you
      • Wash fruits, vegetables and herbs
      • Help assemble dishes (make it creative and colorful!)
      • Help with measuring, tracking time and test food
      • Crack eggs, grind grains and prepare nuts and seeds if toasting
      • Around 5 years of age: using a child’s knife, they can peel, grate or cut vegetables (with your complete supervision!)
  5.  Serving
    • Teach your child how to set the table and make it beautiful. This teaches your child that meal time is a sacred time when nourishment and community take place. Teaching this early on can encourage healthy eating habits and a healthy association with food. Every now and then, you can have your child make place cards for the family members – this will allow them to be in charge of something.

Meal Presentation

  • Do you have a picky child? Making your food come alive can help children expand their food options and have fun in the kitchen!
  • Some tips:
    • Disguise vegetables be putting them in breads, soups, sauces, dips, spread or smoothies (squash, carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach!)
    • Changing the appearance of a vegetable can refocus your child’s opinion of the food. Use cookie cutters, ice cream scoops or fun-sized bowls for food presentation. Have your little chef turn a zucchini or pepper into a flower! Hearts, letters, stars and leaves are also fun shapes for them.
    • Get creative by making plate-art. Create pictures, designs or fun colors with food. Instead of a pile of chicken, broccoli and sweet potato, you can change it to broccoli “trees”, sweet potato “flowers and chicken “clouds”. Remember to keep your child focused on erasing the canvas for the next meal by eating the art!





Kid-Friendly Recipes

Image via Marthastewart.com

Sesame Beef Broccoli

Adapted from: http://www.marthastewart.com/316130/sesame-beef-and-broccoli

Servings: 4


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 piece (3/4 pound) filet of beef, cut in 3/4-inch strips (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound broccoli, florets cut into small pieces, stalks peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 cup all natural or homemade beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (for gluten-free: tamari, for soy and gluten-free: coconut aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Cooked rice (or cauliflower rice), for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add beef, and sprinkle with the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a plate.
  2. Add scallions and garlic to skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 30 seconds. Add broccoli and 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is dry, about 3 minutes. Stir together broth, soy sauce (or tamari/coconut aminos), and cornstarch in a small bowl, and add to skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is no longer cloudy, 1 to 2 minutes. Return beef and any juices to pan; cook, stirring often, until beef is heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, and stir in sesame oil. Serve with rice/cauliflower rice.

Mini Spinach-and-Cheese Pizzas

Image via Marthastewart.com

Adapted from: http://www.marthastewart.com/315967/mini-spinach-and-cheese-pizzas

Servings: 4


  • 4 mini whole-wheat pitas (3 inches each), split (or portabello mushrooms for gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 garlic clove, pushed through a garlic press
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry


  1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil; arrange pita halves on sheet, cut side up.
  2. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, oregano, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Dividing evenly, spread pizza sauce on pitas first, followed by ricotta mixture, and top with spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Broil until cheese is melted and starts to brown, 4 to 6 minutes, rotating sheet from front to back halfway through baking. Serve immediately.

Kid Friendly Snacks

For adults and kids: when you eat a snack, try to include a carbohydrate with a fat and/or a protein to decrease the impact of the carbohydrate on your blood sugar levels, boost your metabolism and keep you fuller longer. Snack time for kids is a great way to get in extra vegetables and fruit full of vitamins and minerals essential for their proper growth and health, rather than filling them with sugar and processed carbohydrates that will make them hungry in an hour or two.

Easy Snacks:

  • Ants on a log: celery, 2 T natural peanut butter and 1 T raisins
  • Turkey slices wrapped around a cheese stick and chopped raw veggies like celery, carrots and/or cucumber
  • Apple slices with 2 T natural nut butter + dried beef sticks (for extra protein!)
  • Grilled chicken strips and raw veggies dipped in hummus
  • ½ cup of full fat cottage cheese with ½ cup of berries and a handful of sunflower seeds
  • Full fat cream cheese spread over a pickle or two and wrap in turkey (can also wrap a piece of lettuce around it)
  • ½ a banana cut on top of 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 2 T natural peanut butter + dried beef stick or hard boiled egg
  • Balanced smoothie: 1/2 cup full fat greek yogurt blended with 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries, 1 cup of spinach and 1-2 T natural peanut butter



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s