How Can I Sneak Better Nutrition Into My Kids’ Meals?

Q: I have a 3-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son and they are picky eaters. Any tips for slipping some extra nutrition into their meals and snacks? 

A: Getting kids to eat healthy foods can sometimes feel like “Mission: Impossible.” Try replacing junk food with more healthful versions of the snacks your kids already enjoy: Replace buttered popcorn, which is loaded with fats and sodium, with air-popped popcorn. Make your own trail mix with dried fruits and nuts instead of buying trail mix, which is filled with refined sugars and preservatives. Slip nutritious foods and alternatives into meals. Add fruits and fruit purees to baked goods, cereals and pancakes. Prepare homemade goodies with whole-grain flour or a gluten-¬free substitute such as rolled oats. Add vegetables to homemade pizza. Replace mayo with avocado, which is full of good fats. Substitute leaner meats such as ground turkey instead of beef in recipes. Try reduced-fat or skim milk instead of whole milk. Emphasize a “rainbow” plate: Encourage kids to include a variety of colors on their plates. For example: Green broccoli with red and orange bell peppers, dipped in low-fat ranch dressing or hummus. 

Source: Children’s National Health System, Washington D.C.