Here are some of my tips for cooking healthy meals with kids!
- Sit down as a family and put together a shopping list for the week. This way you can make one trip to the store instead of several trips, which saves money and gas, and you know exactly what you need to purchase (instead of kids throwing all kinds of junk in the cart).
- Buy fruits for snacks instead of junk. Kids always enjoy a snack in the middle of the day, mostly wanting something sweet. Substitute unhealthy items like candy with fruit for them and yourself. It's good for you and satisfies that need for sweets.
- Purchase items from your local farmer's market! Many towns now have a weekly farmer's market, including ours. The kids enjoy going, we find delicious seasonal fruits & veggies and i makes it more fun to incorporate this items into our foods.
- Add some extra veggies into dishes. There are many entrees that you can easily insert extra veggies. For example, when making spaghetti, throw in some fresh veggies with the sauce, including squash, tomatoes, garlic, etc.
- Baking Bread with extra ingredients. I recently found a few recipes for some delicious bread recipes that include veggies. Instead of just plain bread, puree sweet potatoes, pumpkin or butternut squash and include in the recipe. It's amazing how much this changes the taste. Plus, the kids love helping puree foods.
- Start your own garden this coming spring. Kids love playing in the dirt, so gardening is right up their alley. Last year we planted tomatoes (big boy and plum tomatoes), strawberries, blueberries, pumpkins, squash and watermelons. I have to admit, I'm not a master gardener, but we had fun planting and it was very exciting when something actual grew and we got to eat it with dinner/lunch.
- Add grains as a side dish to a meal! There are so many different grains and many delicious rices available by Uncle Ben's. We've tried several and the kids love the long grain rice with a chicken flavor. Plus, it's one of the less messy items for them to help with, especially the instant kind.
How do you try to eat more healthy foods as a family? Now that you have some tips to get you started, why don't you enter your children in the Ben's Beginners Contest? Here's more information about the Ben's Beginner's Contest:
To empower and encourage parents to connect with their kids, one meal at a time, Uncle Ben’s has launched an exciting national contest called Ben’s Beginners! By entering the contest, you could win $20,000, along with a $50,000 grant towards a cafeteria makeover for your child’s school. In addition, you will have a chance to appear on The Rachael Ray show! Uncle Ben’s is calling forparents with children ages 5-12 to submit a 2-3 minute video of you cooking a rice-based dish with your children. For more info on the contest, please check out Ben’s Beginners on Facebook!
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Uncle Ben’s blogging program, for 6,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.