With this generation of children arguably the pickiest eaters in history, most parents know that feeding kids is no easy task. Kids instinctively gravitate towards junk food so it can be a struggle to make foods both appealing and beneficial. Here are 10 foods that kids will think are treats - but are actually pretty healthy.
Expert nutritionist for USANA Health Science, Ravinder Lilly, says that children often associate healthy food with being tasteless, so they refuse to eat it. By doing so they miss out on essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fats, vital for mental and physical development.
These 10 healthy foods below will have your kids thinking they are treats.
1. Peanut butter on toast
Peanut butter has a bad reputation as being full of calories but it's actually a great snack, being a source of Vitamin B, iron and fibre.
Homemade jelly is a great hydrator, and made with scratch from fruits, a great source of vitamins and protective plant pigments. And if your kids don't normally snack on fruits, 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. Baking the sweet potato in the oven also helps keep retain delicate water soluble nutrients, without sacrificing the crunch 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 focus, and the dark chocolate is an easy way to increase their intake of iron, fibre and magnesium, without changing the taste. Remember that nuts aren't suitable for young children as they're a choking hazard.
5. Macaroni and cheese
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. 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.
6. Fruit smoothies
Using the pulp of fresh seasonal fruit with a helping of milk, water, and a touch of honey, a fruit smoothie is the perfect healthy alternative to a milkshake. By adding colourful straws and decorative glasses to the mix, your child won't know the difference!
Made from real fruit, sorbet can taste just as good as the real deal - ice cream. Just be sure to check the labels on any store bought sorbet to check that real fruit has been used and not just fruit juice.
Try substituting butter on sandwiches for a spreading of avocado. Not only will it add flavour to fillings, but it will also provide your kids with a great source of essential fats.
It's quite easy to hide a serving of fresh berries in pancakes and pikelets - whether they be blueberries, strawberries or raspberries.
10. Wholemeal Pizza
We all know that kids love Pizza Hut or Dominos, but homemade pizzas can still be flavoursome and look appealing. Swap a heavy base for a light wholemeal pitta pocket, laden with fresh gourmet toppings, and bake under the grill. It's also a great way to get your kids involved in the kitchen.