Mealtimes Made Easy | Nutrient Dense Diet | Foraged For You
Feeding Kids Quick, Easy, and Nutritious Meals
Are you tired of trying to make dinner for your kids, only to have them turn up their noses and ask for snacks instead? As a parent, I know how frustrating it can be to try and get your kids to eat healthy food. However, it's crucial to provide your kids with a nutrient dense diet to ensure they grow and develop optimally.
Why Real and Fresh Foods are Best for Children
If you have the time, energy and availability to eat real, fresh, and even better, organic foods, then let’s dive into why these are the best options for kids. Real, fresh, and if possible organic or spray free are best because they are particularly more nutrient-dense, meaning they provide a high amount of essential vitamins and minerals that are crucial for growth and development. Processed foods, on the other hand, are usually high in sugar, foreign additives, vegetable oils, and low in essential nutrients, but also lead to symptoms we may not usually pair with the food they’ve eaten. For example, a recent study on children showed that artificial colours and/or a preservative in food (sodium benzoate) increased hyperactivity in 3 and 8/9 year olds.
Essentially, it can make your life easier in the long run!
Whilst we do the best we can do in the moment, organic food is free from harmful pesticides and chemicals, which can be toxic to humans, but of course our children are in a critical stage of their lives. Pesticides in particular can have a slow, but impactful negative effect on our gut microbiome, which can lead to a lower functioning immune system.
In addition to providing essential nutrients, real, organic, and fresh foods are also more likely to be tasty and enjoyable for children. This is important because when kids enjoy what they are eating, they are more likely to eat enough to support their growth and development.
How To Minimise Your Time in the Kitchen While Maximising Taste and Nutrition
Avoid the snacks for as long as possible!
This is the hardest part, but when they’re begging at your feet for something before a main meal, try encourage waiting for the main meal and if they eat that, then they can have it after their main meal, or even better, just avoid it all together and allow them to gain the understanding that what is on the plate is all they are getting tonight. This way they will have an appetite for their dinner, and be more inclined to eat what is in front of them.
Double everything you cook, or, Meal Prep
I am absolutely no guru at meal prepping, but if I allowed the time for it, it would make my week much easier, less stressful, financially supportive, and save time. One way to minimise your time in the kitchen is to not only plan ahead, but always make 2-3 batches of whatever you’re making in the moment. To meal prep, set aside an hour or two each week to plan and prepare meals. This can include creating a shopping list, prepping ingredients, and even cooking some meals in advance. Meal prepping can be a lifesaver for busy parents because it saves time during the week and ensures that healthy, nutritious meals are always on hand.
Another way to maximise taste in a nutrient dense diet is to get creative with meal ideas. Instead of sticking to the same old recipes, try new and exciting combinations of ingredients. Incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables into your child's diet by experimenting with different recipes or by adding them to familiar dishes in new and exciting ways. For example, you can sneak some extra veggies into your child's pasta or pizza sauce, or make a fruit salad with a range of colourful and juicy fruits.
Include Your Kids In The Cooking Process
Try to involve your kids in the meal-planning process. When kids are involved in choosing and preparing their meals, they are more likely to eat them. This can also be a great opportunity to teach kids about healthy eating habits and the importance of a well-balanced, nutrient dense diet.
Speedy Meals My Kids (Usually) Love
Hidden Goodness Bolognese
First up, bolognese loaded with veggies, liver, and broth. I know that liver probably isn’t high on your kid’s list of favourite foods, but trust me on this one. The veggies are hidden in the sauce, and the liver adds extra nutrition your kids won’t notice. Plus, you can cook it in bulk and freeze it for later.
Home Made Pizza
Nothing beats making home made pizza on a Friday night with your little ones! It's fun and you know exactly what they are eating by doing so. Our favourite is Silly-Nana pizzas using banana flower & psyllium husk powder for the base, organic tomato paste, salt only cured prosciutto, cashew cheese, red onion and fresh rocket once out of the oven! Here is the recipe, shes an oldie but a goody!
Next, try making zucchini or sweet potato fritters held together with cassava or tapioca flour and eggs. Serve them with 'dippy sauces' like mayo, pesto, or healthy tomato sauce to add even more nutrition and broaden your kids' palates.
For a super easy option, try making green eggs. Just blend some eggs and your choice of herbs, scramble them up as usual, and voila! A nutritious and easy meal that looks exciting in minutes.
Mild Spiced Chicken Curry
If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, try making a simple spiced chicken curry with a broth and coconut cream base. Cook some rice while the curry simmers, and you've got a tasty and filling meal for the whole family. Spices we love include cumin, garam masala, turmeric, garlic, ginger, fennel and coriander seed.
No cook platter
If you're short on time, try a platter of pure, 'salt only' cured meats like wild-caught salmon or prosciutto, sliced veggies, olives, and cheese. Slap it all together, and you've got a quick and easy meal that requires zero cooking.
Simple, but good for you, Snags
And finally, don't forget about paleo sausages and fried broccoli. It's a simple and nutritious meal that my kids love, and it's a great way to get some veggies into their diet.
At the end of the day, it's all about finding what works for your household. I always make triple of everything I cook, so I have something ready to go as a backup. And remember, it's okay to surrender and just make it up with a good breakfast the next day.
What are some of your favourite quick and easy meals for your kids? Share your ideas and suggestions with me on Instagram!