Every parent will have heard that phrase “I don’t want to eat this!” at one time or another. Trying to get them to eat a healthy meal, especially if it comes with greens, can be one difficult task.
So we’ve undertaken a little research to find some kid-friendly meals, with a healthy twist that your little ones will actually like:
Meal 1 - Cheesy vegemite pull-apart
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- 30g butter, chilled, chopped
- 3/4 cup reduced-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon Vegemite
- 3/4 cup grated reduced-fat tasty cheese
- Reduced-fat milk, to glaze
This meal is using the Australian staple vegemite in an entirely new way. All you’ll need is a baking tray with baking paper, self-raising flour, butter, tasty cheese, reduced milk and of course the main ingredient of vegemite and you’re good to go. It’s the perfect snack to add to the school lunch box.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Sift flour into a bowl. Using fingertips, rub butter into flour until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre. Add milk. Using a flat-bladed knife, stir until mixture forms a soft dough, adding more milk if necessary. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until smooth (don't over-knead).
Step 2: Roll out to a 30cm x 20cm rectangle. Spread Vegemite over dough, leaving a 1cm strip along 1 long side. Sprinkle cheese over Vegemite. Roll up firmly. Transfer to prepared tray, seam-side down.
Step 3: Using scissors, cut into top of dough at 3cm intervals without cutting all the way through. Pull slices to the left and right. Brush with milk. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Serve.
Meal 2 - Honey soy chicken noodle stir fry
- 500g chicken breast, skin removed, cut into strips
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tblsp honey
- 2 tspn minced garlic
- 2 medium carrots cut into strips
- 1 onion cut into thin wedges
- 1/2 red capsicum cut into thin strips
- 2 x 200g packet udon noodles
- OPTIONAL: canned Chinese corn, bok choy, zucchini, green beans
The kids are sure to love this recipe and it’s one of the easiest on this list to whip up – as fast as 20 minutes! You’ll need chicken breast, soy sauce and honey, udon noodles, and carrots cut into strips. The best part of this recipe is you can add ingredients to it as you please, like bok choy and green beans.
Step 1: Combine chicken with soy sauce, honey and garlic. Set aside for five minutes to marinate.
Step 2: Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Drain chicken from marinade and stir fry in batches until just cooked through. Remove from wok and set aside.
Step 3: Add vegetables to wok and cook lightly, stirring constantly.
Step 4: Return chicken and reserved marinade to wok with noodles and toss until heated through.
Meal 3 - Super healthy pizza
- 100g each strong white and strong wholewheat flour
- 1 tsp or 7g sachet easy-blend dried yeast
- 125ml warm water
- 200g can chopped tomato, juice drained
- handful cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 large courgette, thinly sliced using a peeler
- 25g mozzarella, torn into pieces
- 1 tsp capers in brine, drained
- 8 green olives, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley, to serve
For the topping:
You might have thought that pizza was the last thing you’d want to be feeding your kids but this recipe from bbc.goodfood.com turns pizza from fast food to super healthy. The ingredients are simple - on top of a whole wheat flour base, you’ll add cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, zucchini and olives to create a pizza you and your family are sure to love.
Step 1: Mix the flours and yeast with a pinch of salt in a food processor fitted with a dough blade. Pour in the water and mix to a soft dough, then work for 1 min. Remove the dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a round about 30cm across. Lift onto an oiled baking sheet.
Step 2: Spread the canned tomatoes over the dough to within 2cm of the edges. Arrange the cherry tomatoes and courgettes over the top, then scatter with the mozzarella. Mix the capers, olives and garlic, then scatter over the top. Drizzle evenly with the oil. Leave to rise for 20 mins. Heat oven to 240C/ fan 220C/gas 9 or the highest setting.
Step 3: Bake the pizza for 10-12 mins until crisp and golden around the edges. Scatter with the parsley to serve.
Meal 4 - Cat shaped cinnamon oatmeal
- Your choice of fruit
Another way to entice your little ones to eat a healthy meal, is to turn what they might have previously thought of as “yuck” into something a lot more fun. For instance, this food idea from Popsugar.com turns oatmeal from drab to fab by adding some fruit in the shape of a cat - it’s that easy.
Step 1: Bring one cup of water to boil in a saucepan, with a touch of salt.
Step 2: Add half a cup of oats and stir.
Step 3: Reduce heat and cook for 1 minute.
Step 4: Add your fruits of choice (cut up in the shape of a cat) and some cinnamon on top!
Meal 5: Berry Swirl Yogurt Pops
- 500g reduced-fat Greek style yoghurt
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/3 cup icing sugar
- 300g frozen mixed berries, thawed
If you’re looking for a snack for your kids in between meals, you can’t go past these healthy pops. No ice cream is involved in this treat, as all that’s required is some Greek style yoghurt, vanilla essence, icing sugar and mixed berries. The perfect after school snack.
Step 1: Blend yoghurt, vanilla and half the icing sugar in a blender or food processor until combined. Transfer mixture to a jug.
Step 2: Add berries and the remaining icing sugar to blender or food processor. Pour in 1 cup of the vanilla yoghurt mixture and process until smooth and combined.
Step 3: One-third fill popsicle moulds with vanilla yoghurt mixture then top up moulds with berry mixture.
Step 4: Run a skewer through mixture in each mould to create a swirled effect.
Step 5: Place moulds in freezer for 1 hour then insert a popsicle stick in each one and return to freezer for several hours or overnight until frozen solid.
Step 6: Remove popsicles from moulds just before serving. If popsicles are difficult to remove, wrap a warm damp cloth around moulds for a few seconds and they should slide out easily.
Whichever, meal you decide to undertake with your kids, the important thing is to have fun and get them involved in the process and make meal time, family time.