With this generation of children arguably the pickiest eaters in history, most parents know that feeding kids is no easy task.1 Kids instinctively gravitate towards junk food2 so it can often be a struggle to ensure they are eating foods that are both appealing and beneficial.
According to expert nutritionist, Ravinder Lilly, “Children often associate healthy food with being tasteless, and they refuse to eat it. This often means they miss out on essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fats, which are vital for their mental and physical development.”
Ms Lilly shares five foods that children will think are treats – but are actually pretty healthy:
1. Peanut butter on toast.
Peanut butter has a bad reputation as being full of calories but it‘s actually a great snack for children as it’s packed with nutrients that will provide them with energy for hours. Peanut butter is a great source of vitamin B, iron, fibre and vitamin B.
Homemade jelly is a great hydrator and made from scratch with fruits, a great source of vitamins3 and protective plant pigments. And, if your kids don’t normally snack on fruit, it’s a great disguise to the fact they are eating fruit.
3. Sweet potato fries.
Kids love anything that could pass as takeaway, and there’s no doubt that sweet potato fries are always a hit. Substituting potato for sweet potato adds extra nutrients such as beta carotene (which is turned into vitamin A in the body), vitamin C and potassium, which are great ways to help their immune system and increase muscle function.4 Baking the sweet potato in the oven also helps retain delicate water soluble nutrients, without sacrificing the crunch that kids love!
4. Walnut and dark chocolate cookies.
By adding walnuts into the age old favourite of chocolate cookies, you are not only adding flavour, but also a significant amount of omega-3s. This simple ingredient will help boost your child’s concentration and focus5, and the dark chocolate is an easy way to increase their intake of iron, fibre and magnesium6 without changing the taste. Remember that nuts aren’t suitable for young children as they can be a choking hazard.
5. Macaroni and cheese.
Because what kid doesn’t love mac and cheese? Homemade macaroni and cheese is incredibly simple and also provides your kids with extra calcium and vitamin D. We all know pasta is a great source of carbohydrates, but cheese is considered one of the healthiest foods for children’s teeth as it stimulates the salivary glands and helps protect them from acids that can cause cavities.7 It also contains calcium for strong bones and teeth and you might be surprised to learn that pasta is pretty low GI so it provides long lasting energy for your kids.
What healthier alternatives do your kids enjoy?
Ravinder Lilly is an expert nutritionist at USANA Health Sciences. For more information, and a full range of products, visit www.usana.com. To see all her articles, click here.
 University of Chicago Press Journals. (2014, July 22). Trying to get kids to eat healthier? Don’t tell then veggies are good for them.