Healthy Dinners for Preschoolersby Maggie McCormick
Some children will eat anything that you put in front of them, but most preschoolers are finicky eaters. Nonetheless, you don't want your child to live on peanut butter sandwiches, macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. Serve foods that are kid-friendly and healthy. Make every bit count by squeezing vegetables in, even when they aren't usually there.
Pizza is a favorite food for most people, not just the kids. The pizza you get at a pizza shop, though, is an oversized, greasy mess. You can make your own at home using whole wheat dough. Some kids are happy to pile it high with veggies, but if your kids don't, you can sneak some in by chopping tomatoes, green peppers and mushrooms into tiny pieces and mixing them into the sauce. Mini-pizzas allow everyone to customize their own pizza.
Breakfast for Dinner
Something out of the ordinary is sure to please, so serve up breakfast foods as dinner. You could make pancakes in fun shapes and serve with eggs and homemade hash browns. Whole grain cereal or oatmeal with fruit may also make for a fun alternative to the usual meat and potatoes.
Pasta With Vegetables
Pasta is another crowd pleaser. Start with a whole grain or whole grain blend pasta. You can also find pasta blends that mix vegetables in with the pasta, but check the labels, as some versions have more food coloring than vegetables. Add vegetables no matter which type of sauce you're using. You can easily blend vegetables into a tomato-based sauce. In other types of sauces, well-cooked broccoli florets break up to coat the pasta, looking more like a spice than a vegetable.
Make Your Own Mexican
Start with a whole grain tortilla or taco shell and allow your child to build her own meal. Place all the potential ingredients -- beans, meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, peppers and so on -- into small bowls or onto a tray. Make it a rule that she has to add at least one thing from each food group.
Chicken and Potatoes
You can make this kid-favorite much healthier when you cook it at home. Bake chicken in the oven instead of frying it. Vegetarian "chicken" nuggets taste similar to the real thing but have less fat. Serve with mashed potatoes made with skim milk and a dab of butter and your child's favorite vegetable.
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