Presto! Kid Faves Made Healthy!

September 09, 2014

Presto! Kid Faves Made Healthy!

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Before I teach you to game the system, can I just say for the record, that when it comes to feeding my children, I’ve been the perfect model of motherly virtue?

I’ve followed all the advice in the books to a T, offering an inspired diet of homemade cuisine and taking careful pains to involve my 3-year-old in food shopping and meal preparation.

And has it made one bit of difference?

Not even a little! I might as well have fed her a steady diet of Hot Pockets because the result would be exactly the same!

A few weeks ago the toddler actually staged an intervention as we were having a tender moment falling asleep together: “Mommy, I like you, but I don’t care for the food you make. It’s not the kind of food children like.”

[For those curious, she clarified that children like bagels with cream cheese and grapes.]

But anyway, while I continue to try to push the rock up the proverbial hill, sometimes one needs to throw in the towel and settle for healthier versions of the tried-and-true kid fare.

Isn’t picking your battles the only way to win at this parenting thing after all?

So with no further ‘ado, here are healthier versions of toddler favorites:

Mac & Cheese

I used to add in broccoli until my child became suspicious of anything green.

Now I’ll sneak in cauliflower, butternut squash, and/or white beans.

Spaghetti & Meatballs

For the spaghetti, use the wheat or protein-enriched kind if your family finds the taste acceptable. For the meatballs, there are several healthier options: turkey meatballs, which are quite delicious and closer in taste to beef (you can sneak spinach into them), and there are also some great recipes online for vegetarian meatballs that use beans and/or a grain like quinoa or barley. The texture is a little different, but the taste is really good when seasoned properly. Serve with a homemade tomato sauce and sneak in some veggies.


If you serve on wheat bread, the only “bad” part of this meal is the jelly. Try offering a peanut butter and banana sandwich instead to add some of that sweetness, or experiment with some of the other nut butters, as discussed in one of my recent healthy articles!


Try either making sweet potato pancakes or instead make crepes filled with fresh fruit and served with yogurt. YUM!

Share your other ideas with me! Lord knows this battle is not one for the faint of heart. 

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