When you have a busy schedule, sometimes it’s tempting to just heat up a frozen meal for your family and call it a day. But this is a slippery slope for kids who are forming their healthy habits now. There are better ways to go about cooking recipes for kids when you’re busy. If you don’t have that much time, but want to keep your family’s diet nutritious and delicious, check out these quick and healthy meal ideas for kids.
Get Into Meal Prep
Take an hour out of your day on the weekend to prepare ahead of time. Maybe you need to make lunches for school, or are too groggy to make breakfast every morning? Here are some meal prep ideas that your kiddos will love. Try something like egg bites for breakfast that you can leave in the fridge to grab and go. Add some veggies to make sure your child starts the day with some greens! For lunch, take your child’s favorite protein source and build a meal that includes a veggie they also like. Prepare this ahead of time then swap out the additional sides like cut up fruit or veggie chips that go with the meal to retain variety.
Find Snacks They Like, Then Level Up!
Maybe your kiddo loves pickles or is happy to eat hummus. These are healthy meal prep snacks that you can level up to a quick, easy, and meal! Find what works for you. Something you can buy pre-made from a source you trust to have healthy ingredients, or find a simple recipe online that you can make ahead for the week. This will save you time and keep your child happy too! Switch out the chips and instead combine it with your favorite healthy meal prep sides like cut up bell peppers, baby carrots, or snap peas. You can stay consistent or switch it up for variety!
Satisfy Those Sweet or Salty Cravings, the Healthy Way
Fruits and nuts are a quick way to get nutrient rich and full at the same time! If your child has a sweet tooth or regularly craves something salty opt for their favorite fruits or some lightly salted nuts. These nutrient-rich foods are perfect for satisfying cravings that might otherwise lead to a binge on chips or candy.
Blend In with Your Schedule
If you need a protein packed punch to kick start the morning, think smoothies! You can add unsweetened greek yogurt (feel free to opt for a vegan alternative) to blend up with your child’s favorite frozen or fresh fruit. The natural sweeteners in the fruit will perk them up and the protein in the yogurt will keep them full. Take it along with you in the car for a quick, on-the-go meal for kids!
Feel Good Food
Maybe you’re covered in the a.m. but need an on-the-go fix for lunch. Why not try satisfying, homey classics like chicken noodle soup or a PB & J. This nostalgic classics can be upgraded easily, with some clever alternatives. Think less noodles or a healthy noodle alternative for the chicken soup, and maybe some almond butter and bananas for that PB & J. This way the kids are still reaching for what they love, but this time it’s healthy!
Don’t Be Too Restrictive
Our bodies want what they want and sometimes you have to listen. But there are ways to upgrade the classic go-tos with healthy options to ensure you kids eat more of the good stuff. Sometimes cooking recipes for kids with what they want can satisfy their cravings in a healthy way. This allows you to feed that urge now to avoid a bigger binge later. If your child loves pizza, try opting for either a cauliflower crust or top a traditional thin crust with their favorite veggies. In either case, you split up the bad stuff and eat less of it while maximizing the healthy, nutrient rich foods in a pinch!
Healthy cooking for kids may seem like a daunting task. But with a few minor tweaks and a couple pre-planning ideas, you’ll save time and not have to worry about keeping your child healthy. Good luck and bon appetit!