Cooking With Kids: 10 Easy, Healthful Food Ideas

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while and maybe I’m finally doing it now because yesterday ended up being kind of a food splurge. I didn’t feel that great afterwards, even while watching my portion sizes, because the food was high in fat, oil and sugar.

I don’t remember where I heard it, but I once heard that the body is so much more adaptable to change than we give it credit for. It’s the mind that struggles with the addction- the body can adapt and be done with something long before the person is mentally. Smoking is a great example of that. The body wouldn’t generally seize up and die if someone quit smoking cold-turkey. Yes, it would be extremely uncomfortable, but the body would adjust and move on. Yet, how many people wish they could quit but “just can’t.” It’s the mind that’s addicted, the body will adapt. Clearly, that’s true for food too. My body is already reacting adversely to having these fatty, oily foods in its system again. It’s used to eating light and feels better running on this new “cleaner fuel” after only a couple of months. To me, that’s incredible.

So what stops us from choosing what’s better for our waistlines and arteries? Time? Money? Convenience? Taste? Well, here are 10 options where I don’t feel like I have to sacrifice in any of those areas, and best of all MY KIDS EAT IT TOO! Check ’em out…

1. Fruit– It’s hard to find a snack that’s cheaper and more convenient than a banana or apple. I used to snack on crackers or toast but now I reach for fruit and veggies, easily saving myself a couple hundred calories a day. I say the same thing to my kids, “if you’re hungry, eat some fruit.” If they don’t want it they probably aren’t really that hungry (same goes for me.) They love fruit salads and sometimes we’ll even mix in some light cool whip for a special treat. This is a great dessert option for summer- you don’t even have to turn on your oven!

2. Protein Salads– Notice that word in front of salad? I mean it! Get some protein on your veggies and you will be loving life! I could eat three bowls of salad and not get full but one bowl with a couple ounces of lean poultry or light cheese and I’m set. The kids love some croutons on theirs and that’s fine with me if it’s helping them get through a healthful salad. Darker greens have more vitamins. Be sure to throw in lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, olives…any veggie you and your kids like. Also, don’t waste your calories on the dressing. Go light or use red wine vinegar to make the most of your meal. 🙂

3. Turkey Pepperonni Pizza– I know, you might be able to taste the difference. But you will also feel the difference and see the difference on yourself by swapping out the fat stuff for a more lean, healthful meat. If convenience is still a must buy cheese oven pizzas and then top it with your own veggies and turkey pepperonni. These usually have thinner crusts and less cheese than delivery, and they are less expensive too. But you can still see the grease dripping off of them, so use sparingly…


If you have the time, you can make these cute english muffin pizzas. These are great because you can buy the wheat or low-calorie bread, and it’s easier to watch your portions (especially on the cheese!) Just cover with toppings and cool for a few minutes on broil. My kids love helping make these and eating them too!

4. Smothered Veggies– This is the name I came up with for the following…take one of those Shake n Bake seasoning packages (in the deli section, with cheese…)and use it on zuchinni, tomato, really any veggie of your choice! I love these because they are baked, not fried, and they really get you to want to eat your veggies. Of course, try to choose one that’s lower in salt but if you’re just transitioning into eating more vegetables, seriously, just be glad you are eating vegetables! 🙂 I made this for the first time a month or so ago and now I can use less and less of the seasoning per veggie serving because my family is more used to eating veggies! It’s great, yummy and quick! Gotta love it…

We always do some with the chilen too…

This is the one I used. And no, I am not getting paid to mention their product. 🙂

OK, since this is turning into the longest post ever, I’m going to write it in two parts. Here is the last suggestion from Part 1…

5. Smoothies– I used to look at smoothies as high-calorie drinks, which they can be. That’s probably because I used to always put (just a little) of ice cream in my smoothies. No more! Now it’s just ice, fruit, low-fat milk and high protein yogurt. My kids love ’em because they feel like they’re part of The Fresh Beat Band and they help create their own recipes by choosing the fruit and logurt flavors. I’ve found Greek yogurt to be the highest in protein while still being low-cal. I love ’em because we’re all eating healthful fruits and dairy. If you don’t do dairy, try some low-calorie juice in there too. This is a great oppotunity to mix in some soy powder or protein powder too.

I hope these suggestions are helpful for you today! More on the way tomorrow…thanks so much for reading!!! You all keep me going!! luv, Eva