B.L. asks from Columbia Falls, MT on December 31, 2010
Healthy Recipes - Columbia Falls,MT
My husband and I want to start eating really healthy. We want our meals to be mainly vegetables. I don't know how to go about this though because we have a 2 1/2 year old picky eater. I need recipes that have vegetables (not on the side), but that are cooked in a way that my kid will like them. Any suggestions? Recipes?
2 moms found this helpful
T.F. answers from Boise on January 01, 2011
Really tasty - I like it even better as leftovers toasted a bit in the oven - http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/carrot-macaroni-and-ch...
S.K. answers from Denver on January 01, 2011
Kudos to you for making the decision to have a healthier diet. That will be so great for your family.
First, some suggestions for snacks: leave out a bowl of fruit. Cut up fresh veggies like carrots, peppers, etc - little ones love to eat those with their hands. You can also have little bowls of trail mix (healthy, not with candy or a ton of salt in it), raw sunflower seeds, raw nuts, etc. Mix it up - one day a little bowl of raisins and sunflower seeds, next day a plate of red pepper slices and hummous, next day slices of apple and peanut butter, etc. If these things are in view and easily available, both grownups and kiddies will go for them. My kids also love frozen soybeans for meals or snacks - you can get them in or out of the pod, but you just cook them and maybe add salt, depending on which brand you buy, and they are delicious.
If you want to make snacks like cookies or muffins, make them from scratch. Reduce the sugar, use some or all whole wheat instead of white flour, etc. One of my tried and true is oatmeal walnut chocolate chip cookies - kids have no clue I halve the sugar and use whole wheat flour in them :)
For small changes, here are some suggestions. Instead of buying white bread and white rice, start buying more healthy alternatives like whole grain bread, brown rice, etc. Stop buying prepared foods such as frozen chicken nuggets or frozen lasagna, that sort of thing. Prepared foods like that are FULL of sugar, salt, fat, hydrogenated oils, chemicals, etc., and not nearly as nutritious as cooking from scratch. The simpler and closer to the natural state of the food, the better, so buy fresh fruit and fresh veggies, for instance, whenever you can.
1) Here is a recipe for a simple, yummy soup that kids like:
this is YUMMY, easy, and has lots of veggies.
Separately, cook a pot of barley, which takes longer than the soup (50-60 minutes). Then just stir in however much you need in the soup to make it a good consistency when you're ready to eat.
For the soup:
In a pan, saute in olive oil an onion, some garlic cloves, a few celery stalks, 1 poblano pepper (nice because they're not too hot), and 1 bell pepper. Add a couple of diced carrots, 1 diced yam, and a few red potatoes (diced, with the skin still on), and then enough water to be very soup'ish. For seasonings, use a couple tablespoons of vegetable bouillon, salt, dried sage, thyme, and oregano.
Bring to a boil, then simmer 15-20 minutes. If you have an immersion blender, you can blend the soup a bit when it's done. Don't try to blend it in a blender while it's hot! I learned that one the hard way :)
2) “Pretty Good Vittles” Chili
This is the easiest recipe in the universe. To use less meat, you can double the tomatoes and beans -- still tastes great.
1 lb ground beef
½ onion, diced
1 26-oz can diced tomatoes
1 26-oz can kidney beans, drained
2 TBS chili powder
1 TBS sugar
½ to 1 cup water
Brown the beef in a skillet (or if using TVP, use some olive oil to cook the TVP and onion together). Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for an hour.
3) White Bean Chili
this is SUPER easy and yummy, even to kids!
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed (you can use any white beans – Great Northern, navy, etc)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and their liquid and 1½ cups water to the onion mixture; bring to a boil. Add the beans and simmer until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Divide the chili among bowls and top with cooked bulgur or barley or whatever grain you like.
4) Beans, Bowties, Spinach and Cheese
This is delicious.
8 oz bowtie pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed/chopped
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1 can great northern beans (15 oz), drained and rinsed
¼ cup chicken broth
5 cups fresh spinach
¾ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup parmesan cheese
Begin cooking pasta according to directions.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet. Add garlic and tomatoes, and cook & stir about 2 minutes till soft.
Add beans, broth, and spinach. Cook until spinach wilts, stirring.
Season with salt and pepper.
Drain pasta, and add to skillet.
Add in cheeses, toss, and serve.
5) Spinach Sauce
for pasta (or rice or another grain if you like)
I know you might think the idea of spinach sauce is nuts, but this tastes great and 2 of my 3 kids love this, and the 3rd will still eat it :)
Ingredients for Sauce:
frozen chopped spinach – either in a box or frozen bag – or you can use a pound or so of fresh spinach if you like. If you use frozen, thaw it out and press out as much water as you can.
milk (or substitute soymilk or rice dream??)
chicken bouillon (enough for 2 cups liquid)
¼ - ½ cup or more parmesan cheese
Cook pasta separately. While that's cooking, make the sauce.
First, make a roux:
On low-med heat, cook about 2 TBS of butter and 2 TBS of flour for about 2 min. Add about 2 cups liquid (milk or maybe substitute soymilk??), blend and bring to a boil, turn down heat, stirring, and let thicken.
Add chicken bouillon, some black pepper, nutmeg, and thyme, and stir.
Add the thawed spinach (press out as much water as you can). If you are using fresh, I would steam the spinach briefly first, press out the water, and THEN add to the sauce so it doesn't get too watery.
Blend the spinach through the sauce and cook for a few minutes or more. You may need to add a little more milk. Taste and add more seasoning if it doesn't taste good yet :)
After removing it from the heat, add parmesan cheese to the sauce. Or serve the sauce on top of pasta and top with parmesan cheese.
Finally: Start poking around your health food store and try something new each week, even one thing. Here is a good description of a handful of some whole grains to try (and pix):
Some of my staples are barley, cous cous, wheat berries, and brown rice mix (from the bulk bin at the health food store). YOu can cook any of these with some bouillion for flavor, just like you'd cook white rice, but these are more nutritious. You could try millet, quinoa, the list is endless.
Good luck to you!! Just keep trying new things and you'll soon find what you and your family like. Don't get discouraged and don't give up if you meet with resistance at first -- you WILL find healthy things you all enjoy.
Oh, one last thing -- don't let YOUR preconceptions get in the way of your child trying new things. My youngest loves avocado, and always has -- kids might like something you would never suspect, so let them try it without giving your bias. She loves olives and some other things I really don't like, and that's great!
3 moms found this helpful
A.S. answers from Spokane on December 31, 2010
Well, one cookbook you could try is Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. All of the recipes hide some sort of vegge in them; there are even desserts. The recipes I've tried are quite tasty and my kids never realized they were getting extra veggies. I don't know about your little one but my picky eaters almost always willingly ate something they helped prepare. Yours is old enough to help in the kitchen at small tasks. Two books I can recommend in that area are Salad People & Pretend Soup by Mollie Katzen. My kids LOVE those books and they're used quite often. The one recipe in either of those books they didn't care for was noodle pudding so you're sure to find something to please your little one. By the way, both of those books were tested in preschools and only recipes liked by the children & easy to do for them were included. Also, if you're wanting to move closer to vegeterian meals, gets some books about vegetarian nutrition and some cookbooks. My family went through this transition earlier this year and it's doable. We now plan meals of meat (fish, poultry, beef, game, etc.) only 3 nights a week. Sometime we might have it more if there are leftovers or something but we mainly eat vegetarian meals. There are some great vegetarian children's cookbooks you could try such as Raising Vegetarian Children by Joanne Stepaniak or Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair. Also, f you have good access to email, sign up for the newsletter "Meatout Mondays". (Just do a google search for it.) Once a week, you'll receive a newsletter with a meat free recipe and even sometimes a vegan recipe. I've been getting it for two years now and my kids usually eat the recipes ok but it varies. The recipes range from savory to desserts, entrees to soups to snacks. You never know what you're going to get. For instance, just before Christmas the recipe was for an egg free nog and it was actually quite tasty although I must admit I'm not willing to give up the really stuff. LOL I hope this helps a bit and good luck with your picky eater! :)
2 moms found this helpful
J.E. answers from Los Angeles on December 31, 2010
almost any meal can be made without meat, or by substituting with a product like "veggie ground round" yves makes a good one. In fact most of the veggie "meats" are quite good when your typical dish is prepared with them. there are all sorts of things available, made from soy protein, tofu, and sometimes just mixed veg or a combo of these. My kids loved everything I made from these products. also quinoa is a very good choice for a whole food. also very versatile. Google or look up stuff on allrecipes.com
1 mom found this helpful
K.M. answers from Denver on January 01, 2011
I recommend Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook, "Deceptively Delicious." The recipes are yummy and the vegetables are hidden in everything from cakes to meatloaf. Her trick is to make purees of vegetables and put them everything. My kids love her stuff!
1 mom found this helpful
G.T. answers from Modesto on December 31, 2010
Go the smoothie route, I've been experimenting lately. Easy to get kids to eat or drink a smoothie depending on how thick you want to make them. A good one is one avacado, a banana, a handful of fresh spinach, a tsp of pulverized flax seed (use your coffee grinder to do that), an unpeeled apple, a couple of tbl spoons of vanilla yogurt, a few spashes of eithr almond milk or oj and a tsp of honey. Add about 6 ice cubes and throw it all into your blender and blend it up. Add more liquid if necessary, taste before pouring to see if you would like more honey. This has tons of fiber in it and you cannot taste the veggies. Apples and oranges work great for disguising the vegetables in any of the smoothies. You can make them thick and the kids will think it's ice cream practically. Anyway, its a great breakfast or a great dinner (not going to bed all bloated and full). We usually eat a big lunch and do the smoothies for breakfast and dinner. Let your imagination go wild and just throw stuff into the blender and experiement.
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R.L. answers from Denver on January 01, 2011
Hi and Happy New Year,
I am curious what you are looking for as I have many veggie kid friendly and tasty recipes throughout all 3 of my cookbooks. In fact the new one Love More Feed Less is primarily veggie recipes, though I do include some recipes with meats, seafood or poultry as well.
I also would need to know if you do eat dairy products or not, for instance yogurt or soy yogurt.
Yet one of my easiest and child friendly recipes is:
Preheat oven to 350
Grease a 9X9 inch pan with pan spray
Slice 1-2 large zucchini (or 3 small) into 1/4 inch slices and layer them all over the pan.
Pour 2.5-3 cups of tomato sauce (preferably homemade) all over the zucchini. Then, gently mix a teaspoon or so of minced garlic into the sauce without disturbing the zucchini
Bake for 30-35 minutes, remove from the oven and cover the top with Mozz. or Provolone cheese (optional) and place the pan back into the oven for about 5-7 minutes until the cheese melts and begins to bubble.
Serve as is, or oven bread or Whole wheat pasta and enjoy!
For more recipes like these, please see www.themuffinlady.com
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R.J. answers from Seattle on December 31, 2010
My BIGGEST suggestion is either nutrition software designed for med professionals, class (through a community college... they all have them since nutrition is a pre-req for a nursing degree), or working with a nutritionist.
Childhood nutrition is COMPLETELY different than adult nutrition. We need lowfat, they need HIGH fat (because their nerves aren't myelinated completely until sometime after age 5 ... previous studies had it at age 3... it keeps getting upped as the studies get better testing equipment)... we need complex carbs, they need simple carbs... proteins and vits/mins are totally different as well, because we're just maintaining and repairing and they're building. What's healthy for a toddler is SUPER UNHEALTHY for an adult, and vice versa.
Ditto... do a lot of reading on healthy vetarianism. Meaning ways to get complete proteins without meat. You may already know, but a lot of people think just subbing legumes work. Legumes have protein but not *complete* proteins. To make it complete (like to match the complex proteins in meats) you have to add a grain. Nuts and eggs and whole milks also have complete proteins in them. I know you said *mostly* veggies... but when your diet is even half vegetarian, you have to be quite careful to make sure that both kids and adults are getting the nutrients that they need. Adults...eh... it doesn't matter so much. We just get sick. Kids... it affects brain, bone, and organ growth and can impact them their whole lives.
Because kids have *massive* fat and protein needs... the way to make veggies appealing to their brains (not minds, but brains which is what is sending out the signals for hunger, and impacts also what is appealing usually in direct porportion to need) is to either ADD them to a very rich diet OR to cook veggies in a way that loads them down with fats, proteins, or that turns them into complete proteins... AND in a way that makes them easily digestible. (Why most kids prefer overcooked veggies to ideally cooked veggies is that they're easier to digest... veggies have a lot of fiber, and esp for kids with small stomachs or underdeveloped intestinal tracts -most-, that fiber takes up valuable space and moves things too quickly through a short distance. They need things that are easily digestable and that absorb quickly to support the huge demands that their body is placing on them).
- boiling carrots (or other root veggies) in chicken stock
- drizzling or sauteeing in olive oil or butter
- smothering them in a fat rich sauce (like alfredo or baking cauliflower au gratin)
- overcooking... ideally done with soups... because that way *most* of the nutrients are captured in the soup which is eaten. Some nutrients are too volatile and will break down in soups
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K.M. answers from Chicago on December 31, 2010
I will suggest a cookbook, many may have seen me suggest it before ... Cook Yourself Thin ... they have two and they are FULL of veggie and healthy foods. Some of them are a little extra work but REALLY pay off in the end. If you plan it right you can do a lot of prep work on sat/sun and easily cook all week.
1 mom found this helpful