Sandwich. Fruit. Cheese. Repeat. Now do that 10,000 more times and tell me your kid isn't absolutely over every combination you've tried to offer. If we had to guess, we spend about 500 hours per day feeding our children. It feels that way anyway. So, planning creative ways to serve up their favorites on rotation without them burning out is hardly something we have time for. That’s why we’re sharing this list of healthy, fun ways to reinvent 3 classics with an added serving of fruits and veggies!
Note: For our littlest ones, try cutting these recipes into tiny finger foods and remove any accessories that might pose a choking risk.
Fact: Kids love pizza. They would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if we allowed them to. While a plain cheese pizza doesn’t pack much of a nutritional punch, there are ways to make it a whole meal for any time of day!
Pizza for Breakfast
The next time you find yourself standing in front of the refrigerator at 7 a.m. wondering what to serve for breakfast, break out a ready-made pizza crust from your freezer, top it with pizza sauce mixed with a little mild salsa and cheddar cheese and crack a few eggs on it. When it comes out of the oven, the cheese will be bubbling, and the eggs will be cooked to perfection. All that will be left to do is add a few slices of avocado, and breakfast is served!
Hide the Veggies
We know vegetables are not an easy food group to get kids to eat. But hide them with a little cheese, and (most) kids will eat them up. What we’re suggesting is building your pizza a bit upside-down—first sauce, followed by finely chopped veggies—the ones you know they don’t hate—and lastly, a delicious blanket of deception that we like to call cheese.
Whether it’s spaghetti and meatballs or macaroni and cheese, you know your kid will eat pasta. And they would probably eat these varieties on repeat without issue, but making them healthier and little more fun to eat will turn that probably into a definitely.
It’s All About the Shape
You know those handy silicone molds that turn your baked goods into hearts, flowers and pretty much every shape you can think of? (We just saw a light bulb switch on over your head.) Yes, squish your meatball mix into those and save yourself the headache of hand-shaping countless balls, and replace it with the satisfaction you’ll get from seeing your littles eat them up with delight. We’ve been known to make it extra fun by serving with a side of fun-shaped pasta, too!
Hide the Veggies (Again!)
If onions, garlic and parsley aren’t in your meatball recipe, or you just feel like sneaking in a few extra vegetables, this Hidden Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce we featured in the article 3 Secrets to Getting Toddlers to Eat Their Greens (Really!) is the perfect way to do it!
It is commonly accepted that the 4th Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich when he asked his staff to serve his roast beef between two pieces of bread so that he could eat with his hands at the card table where he reportedly spent endless hours gambling. We’d like to think it was a busy mother who wanted to serve all of the food groups in one easy-to-eat meal that didn’t require the use of any dishes! Whoever invented the sandwich, we can all accept that it is one of the most versatile meals that pleases even the pickiest of eaters.
The cookie cutter business has caught on and sized up. And we are forever grateful, because kids—ours anyway—are always thrilled to see their sandwiches shaped as boats, fish and snowmen. You can tuck the veggies in the sandwich itself or use them along with fruits to create a “platescape” that looks like a scene out of their favorite story. Add a few cute food picks and you’ve just won the sandwich game!
Our minds might go straight to meats and veggies when we hear the word kebab. Lucky for us parents, the pokey wooden sticks are now available in kid-friendly versions that lend themselves perfectly to sandwiches, fruits, veggies, cheeses and beyond. Simply cut each food with a knife or different shaped cookie cutters and slide them along the stick in fun color patterns to match seasons and holidays. And you can even make them look like your favorite animal—think caterpillars and butterflies!