New school year, new goals, new… meals! Every year, I like to share with you tips and ideas on how we can make kids’ meals tastier, but also healthier. The trends of the year - in terms of kids’ meals - remain more or less the same as they continue to have a healthier diet as guidance. We start from that and add a couple of touches in order to gather these 4 elements that we can incorporate in the kids’ diet. We may not follow them all; that’s fine. It is important to make a start and always have the following in mind: Nature and…moderation are our allies ;-) So what do you think? Shall we discover these 4 elements that will be present this year as well?
#1 Healthy meals.
And if this seems impossible, I will write it differently: healthier meals. Yes, healthier than the ones we may have chosen before. This, of course, includes fruits and vegetables which we should always keep within sight, but also in a convenient spot so that kids can have easy access to them. Next are the yogurts, peanut butter, tahini, whole-wheat crackers, and cheese. In addition, eggs and nuts can keep children full for longer thanks to the protein they contain, while their weekly diet should always include legumes and fish. Next is the meat we should consume in moderation, as we do with most foods.
#2 Whole-wheat products are a trend.
Why? Because they are rich in fiber, they are very filling, have a low glycemic index, and - in all likelihood - contain less sugar. Of course, you can confirm all this simply by reading the nutrition label on the packaging of each product. So far so good. But here comes the important question: How can we include whole-wheat products in kids’ diets?
- Prepare their sandwiches, toasts, and wraps in whole-wheat breads and tortillas.
- Use wholegrain cereals and oats in their breakfast. In fact, if you want, you can start by making various mixes and continue by gradually increasing the percentage of wholegrain cereals in their bowl.
- Prefer snacks that are made from whole-wheat flour such as crackers, cookies, but also handmade pies, vegetable muffins, or pizzas.
- Replace white pasta and rice with the corresponding wholegrain products. In fact, if you want, you can introduce them to quinoa, chia seeds, and other nutrient-rich pseudocereals.
#3 Foods from around the world.
Kids love to travel. Food has the power to take us around the world and help us get to know new cultures and -of course- new flavors. So, what do we do? We introduce kids to dishes from the international cuisine, while we make sure to use some of its raw materials such as some herbs, spices, etc. in our meals. Thus, we can change the style of our meals at once, make a bland material more interesting, and -in general- enrich our tastes and…our knowledge by discussing the origin or inspiration of each recipe. When kids hear a story about the country a food comes from, they are more likely to want to try it.
#4 «Gourmet» elements on their plate.
Kids may not like original flavors so much. The truth is that the term "gourmet" in this case does not refer so much to the ingredients, but to the appearance of the dishes and to some of our alterations that could further evolve (in terms of taste and nutrition) some recipes. In short, you do not need to use truffle oil, caviar, and smoked salmon to assemble a gourmet dish. You can make a difference simply by devoting a little more time to assemble it, enriching its colors, and altering recipes by incorporating e.g. more (seen or…hidden) vegetables.
I can’t wait to read your thoughts on all of this and I look forward to your ideas on how kids’ meals could be made tastier, healthier, and more interesting for them. After all, that's why we're here: to exchange ideas in order to become better and to cook even better for ourselves and our family!