Tips for Change

cheese.jpgToday, Sara Cabot of Little Lettice encourages healthier eating for kids in 2008 (and beyond!). She shares 10 tips for change, and a couple of recipes for kid favorites that can be knocked together easily, and without all the salt and preservatives of typical processed goods:

New Year’s Resolution: Kids Eat Healthier in 2008

10 Tips on How to Change

1. In general, make more homemade food.

2. You don’t have to go cold turkey on your child’s junky favorites. Have you tried making them from scratch?

3. Reduce salt intake by cutting down on take out food.

4. Get your child to buy in to home cooking by choosing a recipe, helping with the food shopping, and cooking it. They’re more likely to eat the food if they’re part of the process!

5. Keep a healthier pantry: less processed foods, less sugar, less snacks. Instead, stock more fruit and nuts. If they can’t see the cookies, they’re less likely to miss them.

6. At around 6 years you can talk to your child about healthy foods and why they’re good for us.

7. Once your child can read, show them ingredients lists and labels on processed food packaging.

8. Buy as much organic food as possible – not only does the produce contain less pesticides, organic processed food like crackers contain less additives.

9. Set a good example: eat well yourself.

10. Eat together: family meals are good for trying new foods and good for conversation too!

Stick to your child’s favorites to start

You may be tired of your child’s desire for pizza, but switching overnight to poached salmon with kale might be too much of a leap! A good transition away from processed foods is to cook from scratch your child’s favorites, such as homemade chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese. Here are two easy favorites:

Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Serves 4 kids

Resist the urge to buy frozen chicken nuggets and grab a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead. All you need is some breadcrumbs (it’s handy to use up stale bread at home) and an egg to make really delicious chicken nuggets.

  • 2 whole skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs (put some stale/dry bread in the Cuisinart and blend for a couple of seconds. Add a pinch of salt & pepper if desired)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Cooking oil

    1. Cut up the chicken breasts into desired size pieces.
    2. Coat in the beaten egg followed by the breadcrumbs.
    3. Heat oil until quite hot and fry chicken pieces on each side until white all the way through.
    4. Keep warm in a dish until all the pieces are done.

    Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
    Serves 4 kids

    Macaroni and cheese dates from Victorian England where it was a popular supper dish.

  • ½ cup macaroni
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup plain flour
  • ¾ pint whole milk
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • Breadcrumbs (optional)

    1. Bring pan of water to boil and cook macaroni until almost al dente (don’t overcook it).
    2. Melt butter and add flour.
    3. Whisk in the milk bring to boil and simmer stirring continuously.
    4. Add cheese, salt & pepper.
    5. Serve as is or put in baking dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and bake in 375-degree oven for 20 minutes.

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