Odds are that your kids don’t typically beg for fresh broccoli and roasted vegetables. Weird, right?! If they’re like mine, they PROBABLY want the typical “kid foods” – mac ‘n cheese, hot dogs, burgers, fries… you know, all the simple, delicious, carby – fatty foods that most adults simply can’t get away with (if they ever want to be able to face the scale again, anyway)!! Keep them – and you – happy with some simple modifications:
From time to time, a greasy slice of NY style won’t hurt too much. But to satisfy the nearly daily requests, we recommend a few simple swaps. For starters, make-at-home will always give an automatic calorie and fat reduction. Next, give the crust a makeover: Try a thin crust gluten free version made from brown rice flour or cassava flour, healthier alternatives to white and wheat crusts. Or if you have time, try going paleo with a delicious caluflower crust. If you’ve never tried it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! You and your kids will never know the difference! Next, try adding dried herbs to regular, plain tomato sauce – those pre-made jarred sauces can come with upwards of 20 grams of sugar per serving! Not to mention all they usually contain many unnecessary additives and preservatives.
Mac ‘n Cheese
There are so many great homemade mac ‘n cheese recipes, but many still use heavy creams and tons of butter. Try a simple sauce by melting two tablespoons of butter, then stirring in two tablespoons of flour (or rice flour to make it gluten free). To that, add a pinch of salt and a cup of organic milk or almond milk if you’re trying to avoid dairy. Let it cook (stirring constantly) until it thickens and gets bubbly. Turn the heat off and add your choice of shredded cheese; then, when it’s combined, stir it into your noodles and serve. Try adding in some spinach or kale to sneak in a vegetable (it’s delicious – we promise!) or swap your regular noodles for a lentil noodles, brown rice noodles or even bean noodles.
Burgers are an American staple for a good reason: they’re AMAZING. But they come with lots of carbs and fats as typically served at a restaurant. At home, it’s easy to make them healthier. Start by making sure you’re using a quality low-fat organic, meat. Ground turkey is a fantastic option that is low-cost, a great source of iron, and often easier to digest than ground beef. Swap the standard bun for a sprouted whole grain bun. Or consider dropping the bun altogether and going “unwich” style by using a few lettuce leaves. Boston lettuce or butter lettuce works perfectly and adds a wonderful flavor. Have a kid who insists on the bun? Try a slider bun with an “oversized” burger. Next, consider the toppings. Avocado, fresh tomatoes, red onion and mushrooms are all delicious ways to sneak fresh veggies into the mix. There are endless options to consider! Let the healthy creative juices commence!