As I’ve gotten older and more aware of food ingredients and their impact on our bodies and immune systems, the more I have applied this knowledge to what our kids eat. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t want to cook two meals: one “kids friendly” and one for the adults who love flavor and depth. So instead, I’ve created recipes of our favorite kids foods but made much healthier. Plus, the flavor is so delicious that the adults enjoy these recipes, too.
The Process of Making Favorite Kids’ Foods Healthier
It has definitely been a process to make favorite kids foods healthier. There are three problematic foods to be mindful of and begin swapping if possible. They are also the most common inflammatory foods and the most likely to cause symptoms in both children and adult. Gluten (wheat, barely, rye), Dairy (anything with cow’s milk – specifically with lactose) and Refined Sugar.
Swapping out Gluten (wheat, barley, rye):
At first, I just swapped out gluten for gluten free alternatives. For example, I would make homemade gluten free chicken nuggets instead of buying the store bought processed ones made with gluten. These nuggets are healthier, but I knew I could do better by improving the nutrients in some of their favorite kids foods recipes too.
TIP: Not all gluten free flours are the same. Be sure to look for a gluten free flour with a primary ingredient of brown rice, cassava or almond flour. There’s several cup-for-cup replacements available now.
Delicious Dairy Alternatives:
Next, I swapped out dairy for dairy alternatives that were full of nutrients. I learned how to make homemade almond milk using 2 simple ingredients: almond butter and filtered water. By the way, if you add a little bit of vanilla and maple syrup to the almond milk it will taste better than the store bought “vanilla and sweetened almond milk” without all the additives. If you love cashews, you can make dairy free sour cream that has a better flavor profile than dairy-based sour cream.
Healthy Swaps for Refined Sugar:
Finally, I learned new ways to make favorite kids foods without refined sugar. Many of my dessert recipes use maple syrup, dates, coconut sugar and honey as a natural sweetener. Plus, natural sweeteners don’t cause blood sugars to rise in kids and adults.
Now, let’s get to those 5 delicious favorite kids foods that I have made healthier. So good in fact, that they may just like these recipes better. They are certainly better for you and very tasty.
MUST TRY! 5 Favorite Kids’ Foods Made Healthier
All of these favorite kids foods make healthier are kid-approved. Our middle school children actually love these clean eating for kids recipe so much that they are on our monthly menu rotation.
Give them a try and see if you can make a few simple swaps to improve the nutrition profile of the foods you’re making for your children.
#1: Healthy Macaroni & Cheese with Butternut Squash and Nutritional Yeast
My kids love eating this Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Recipe, especially when it’s creamy, “cheesy” and very satisfying. This comfort dish is the perfect recipe for dinner and next day leftovers. This cheesy recipe is gluten free and dairy free with optional extra sharp white cheddar. If you’re going to eat dairy, be sure to eat a little bit, buy organic and make sure it’s lactose free. Extra sharp white cheddar is naturally lactose free and a little bit goes a long way.
I serve this tasty Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Recipe with rotisserie chicken or grilled organic chicken thighs with a splash of hot sauce. It is a delicious, clean eating kids recipe up-leveled for adults. The creamy butternut squash paired with nutritional yeast and truffle oil is a home-run every single time!
#2: Chewy Brownies Made with Cassava Flour and Applesauce
Not only is this recipe for Chewy Gluten Free Brownies healthy, but my daughter compares them to box brownies full of wheat, sugar and dairy. Which means, this is a WINNING recipe. If your kids love brownies, this recipe makes the most incredibly moist and chewiest brownies ever. They are gluten free, dairy free and naturally sweetened.
These Chewy Gluten Free Brownies pair perfectly with vanilla coconut ice cream and Homemade 2 Ingredient Caramel Sauce.
#3: Berry Tropical Smoothie for Picky Eaters
This Berry Tropical Smoothie Recipe is the best smoothie for picky eaters. The delicious tropical blueberry flavor hides the nutritious part! When fully blended, this smoothie is creamy, satisfying and your kids will love it. Plus, this smoothie recipe makes a delicious popsicle! This smoothie recipe is loaded with healthy nutrients: cashew butter, coconut butter and spinach. All hidden by the wild blueberries and tropical fruits.
This Berry Tropical Smoothie Recipe is a perfect clean eating for kids recipe. Made in a high speed blender, it’s easy to make this smoothie as a part of breakfast or for an afternoon snack. Either way, you kids are going to love it!
#4: Quick Banana Muffins with Added Nutrients
Loved by just about everyone, this Healthy Banana Muffins Recipe is a classic recipe that deserves an extra special clean eating makeover. As one of our favorites kids foods, it was important to preserves the time-honored taste we all love while doing away with the not so lovable ingredients. Making just a few simple swaps, this banana muffins recipe is made with whole grain gluten free flour, coconut sugar, flaxseed and almond milk.
Love a good healthy morning smoothie for your kiddos? Try this PB&J Smoothie or this Blueberry Oat Breakfast Smoothie made with rolled oats and frozen wild blueberries.
#5: Who Doesn’t Love a Bowl of Chili?
There have been many nights that this Instant Pot Chili Recipe is literally saving my family. Without this chili recipe, they would be eating sandwiches for dinner again. Perfectly delicious, this chili will be loved by everyone in your family. Plus, it’s a great way to add some delicious vegetables without your kids taking note.
This delicious chili recipe is perfect for a fall or winter dinner and can be made in either an instant pot or slow cooker. Try this Instant Pot Chili Recipe that is quick to make, loaded with veggies and perfect with homemade cornbread or tortilla chips.
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