When was the last time your child asked you for a plate of steamed vegetables? In this junk food obsessed culture, the likelihood is never. Providing our kids with a healthy diet is a constant battle for parents in this country where the food supply is horrendous and we spend more than 110 billion dollars on fast food every year.
Over 30 percent of children in America under age 17 are overweight. Kids are the target market for all the junk food out there. If we completely deprive them of the foods they love they’ll obsess about them even more, but it’s our job to make sure they’re getting proper nutrition.
Many of their favorite foods are unhealthy, but fortunately there are some delicious alternatives. These are some that I don’t feel so guilty about serving to my boys, I bet your kids will like them too.
Hot Dogs We are busy moms. There are nights when we just want to throw down a quick and easy meal that we don’t have to put much thought into. Hot dogs are super easy, and what kid doesn’t love them? They are notorious, however, for containing meat by-products, fillers, and nitrates.
If you want to avoid these unhealthy additives, a few good options are Applegate Farms, Organic Prairie, and Coleman Natural. My kids love hot dog night, and honestly, cooking these up with a side of veggies and a piece of fruit doesn’t take much more time than waiting in line at the drive-thru. Actually, takes less time 😉
Mac n’ Cheese When you’re pressed for time or just do NOT feel like doing any real cooking (which for me is always!), mac n’ cheese is a great go to. Forget Kraft. Most kids I know like Annie’s Organic. My recipe for mac n’ cheese is honestly almost as easy, find it here.
Pancakes Love to make pancakes every Sunday morning? Look for a mix that’s made with organic stone ground whole grain flour, pure raw evaporated cane juice or pure raw sugar, and aluminum-free leavening. I make them even healthier by adding ground flax seeds and wheat germ. (My kids don’t even notice.) The recipe calls for oil, so opt for a healthy option like grape seed oil, then top with a little 100 percent pure maple syrup. My kids love them! Try Bob’s Red Mill
PB & J Without a doubt, only give your kids organic peanut butter. Organic peanut butter is not permitted to be grown with pesticides or the fungicides commonly used in growing peanuts. An even healthier option? Organic almond butter or organic cashew butter and use sliced bananas instead of jelly (Elvis loved PB & banana sandwiches! Thank you very much.)
Cereal Cereal makes hectic mornings easier. Who has time for much more when you’re making lunches and trying to get your kids out the door on time? But most brands are full of sugar. Fortunately, there are many great alternatives on store shelves that do not have partially hydrated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. My kids love Envirokids, Barbara’s and 3 Sisters Cereal. They all have several varieties. Three Sisters uses renewable wind energy in their production and the cereals come in a freshness saver bag instead of a box, so a few trees are spared as well. My kid’s favorites are Cinnamon Sweets, which is their alternative to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Marshmallow Oaties, their version of Lucky Charms. My kids say these are even better than the unhealthy sugar-laden brands! That’s not to say they don’t beg me for Froot Loops once in while.
Which healthy alternatives do your kids love?