Easy And Healthy Recipes For Children
Getting the right nutrition is so important for a growing child, but ensuring that they eat enough of a wide variety of different foods can sometimes feel like a struggle. Family life is busy, so recipes that are quick, easy and healthy are the ideal solution for parents. Young children can be very fussy with food, so making meals as tasty, enticing and exciting as possible is another thing to consider.
We have some great suggestions for healthy kids recipes, snacks and lunches that will tick all of these boxes and give you the peace of mind that your child is getting all the nourishment they need to grow up healthy and happy.
HEALTHY KIDS RECIPES
At the end of a busy day, following complicated time-consuming recipes is the last thing on any parent’s mind. Having a collection of kids recipes that you can quickly rustle up will help to minimize your time in the kitchen – and the time that a hungry child is kept waiting!
The good news is that young children tend to have simple food tastes – although it’s important to keep adding in new textures and tastes to help them build a more adventurous pallet. Examples of healthy food recipes that you could try include:
- Pasta with meatballs and tomato sauce
- Chicken ratatouille with rice and vegetables
- Baked fish with homemade potato wedges and broccoli
- Salmon burger with sweet potato fries
- Extra-veg bolognese with spaghetti or spiralised veg (carrot, squash and zucchini work well)
- Homemade vegetable pizza with a whole-meal base
- Turkey and cheese toasted sandwich with cucumber and carrot sticks
Homemade is always going to be the most healthy food for kids as you can see exactly what’s going into the meal (and make healthier tweaks to a recipe if you want to!). Don’t worry, cooking from scratch doesn’t have to mean lots of effort and time. A homemade tomato sauce makes a great base for lots of different pasta dishes, ratatouilles, soups, stews and pizzas, and only takes a few minutes to make. You can even add in hidden veggies like carrots, onions, eggplant, zucchini and red peppers, to sneak even more goodness into your child. Cook up a big batch and freeze portions to use when you need them.
“A homemade tomato sauce makes a great base for lots of different pasta dishes, ratatouilles, soups, stews and pizzas, and only takes a few minutes to make.”
TIME FOR A HEALTHY TREAT
Treat time can be a tricky time for parents, but there are lots of healthy snacks that will keep both you and your child happy. Presentation can go a long way towards making food exciting to eat, so think about presenting your child’s snacks in a fun way. Let’s take a look at some examples of fun and healthy snacks for kids:
- Whole-meal pancakes made into different shapes (metal cookie cutters make great moulds – just be careful as they will get hot in the pan)
- Chopped fruits arranged like a rainbow with a pot of yogurt at the end
- Fruit kebabs with a yummy peanut butter dip (use wooden ice-lolly sticks and always supervise your child)
- Bananas half-dipped in chocolate with coconut sprinkles
- Frozen yogurt fruit cups (simply freeze yogurt and fruit in silicone cups)
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional cake, cookie or muffin – and baking at home means you can make healthier versions if you want to. Oat-based cookies or flapjacks make great evening snacks for kids, as you can add healthy ingredients like dried fruits, fresh fruits, zests and juices, coconut and seeds. Serve with a glass of Aptamil Junior 3 Growing-Up milk to ensure your child is ending the day having had all the nutrients they need for healthy growth.
“Treat time can be tricky for parents, but there are lots of healthy snacks that will keep both you and your child happy. Baking at home means you can make healthier versions if you want to.”
- 200g oats
- 150g raisins
- 40g desiccated coconut
- 40g seeds (such as sunflower or pumpkin)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 grated apple
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 60g butter
- 40ml sunflower oil
- Blitz the oats, raisins, lemon juice and zest, and apple in a blender (you want the ingredients to be combined but the mixture to still be slightly chunky)
- Melt the butter, oil and maple syrup in a pan
- Combine, then bake in a greased tin for 20 mins (180C, gas mark 6)
Top tip: There are lots of different variations of this recipe that you could make. Why not switch the apple for grated carrot and a sprinkle of cinnamon? Or add chocolate chips for an extra sweet treat?
HEALTHY SCHOOL LUNCH BOX IDEAS
The school lunch box can be another danger area, as it can be tempting to give your child pre-packaged treats like biscuits, cakes, chocolate bars and crisps. While these are all fine as occasional treats, they have little nutritional value and are usually full of fat, sugar or salt. They’re definitely not foods that you want your child to be eating every day of the week.
We have plenty of healthy lunch ideas for kids, so you can make those lunch boxes tasty, fun and nutritious:
“The school lunch box can be another danger area, as it can be tempting to give your child pre-packaged treats like biscuits, cakes, chocolate bars and crisps.”
Kids lunch box recipes
- Halloumi and salad sandwich on whole-meal bread
- Grilled cheese Rkakat (cheese rolls) with hidden veg tomato sauce dip
- Houmous with carrot and cucumber batons
- Pittas stuffed with meatballs and salad
- Whole-meal bagel with cream cheese and flaked (cooked) salmon
- Pasta pot with tomato sauce and grated cheese
- Cheese and avocado quesadilla
- Spicy rice pot with sultanas (use paprika and saffron to flavor the rice when cooking)
Healthy snacks for school
- Sliced apple with a peanut butter dip
- Pitted dates
- Dried fruits like raisins and sultanas
- Fresh fruit (sprinkle cut fruit with a little lemon juice to stop browning)
- Natural yogurt flavored with fresh fruit
- Cheese cubes
- Sliced red peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Stuffed vine leaves
- Sliced boiled egg
- Baked samosas
- Pureed fruit compotes
- Yogurt with fruit and granola
- Homemade flapjacks, cookies or muffins
- Homemade oat balls
Don’t forget the healthy drinks too! Water is best but fresh fruit juices diluted with water also make healthy and refreshing lunch box drinks.
- 200mg pitted dates
- 200mg oats
- 1 tbsp honey, coconut oil or maple syrup
- Blitz the dates and oats in a blender
- Combine with the honey, oil or syrup
- Roll into balls and chill (your child might like to help with this part!)
These little balls make great healthy snacks for school, home or on the go, and you can add lots of different ingredients to the basic mixture. Why not try adding;
- Raw cacao powder
- Orange zest
- Chocolate chips
- Peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Grated apple
- Desiccated coconut
- Grated carrot
LOOKS GOOD, TASTES GREAT
Making food look fun and exciting is key with children, so think about how their lunch is presented. A lunchbox featuring their favorite character is a good start. Why not make a fun shopping trip and let them choose their own?
You could also think about ways to present their food that is going to make it extra tempting to eat. Shaped sandwiches, colorful fruit salads and fun little dipping pots will all make their lunch box extra interesting.
Of course, practicality is important too. Chop and peel fruit and vegetables to make them easier for your child to eat in his limited lunchtime – baton shapes are especially great for little hands to grasp.
Anything that makes your child’s meals more enticing is a good idea and will encourage them to eat well and get all those important nutrients. However, if your child is a fussy eater, doesn’t tend to eat much or you simply want the peace of mind of ensuring that they’re definitely getting the right balance of nutrients, consider supplementing their mealtimes with two cups of Aptamil Junior 3 Growing-Up milk daily.
Our team of experts is ready to answer your questions and support you on your journey from pregnancy to toddlerhood. For more information and relevant advice, please contact us between 9am–6pm from Saturday to Thursday: