Nothing can be more challenging than the preparation of a healthy and finger-licking meal for kids. If the meals are not delectable, the kids tend to not eat them. So, taste along with health is the key idea. Kids are generally fussy-eaters. It is essential to introduce the concept of healthy dinners for kids from an early age. Having said that, it is still a daunting experience to balance the two: taste buds and health.
Vegetarian Healthy Dinner Recipes for Kids
There are a few healthy dinner recipes for kids you can consider preparing:
1. Mexican Rice
Unlike the name suggests, this one is as Indian as any dish can be. It is loaded with various bell peppers. It is similar to vegetable pulao. It is one of the healthy kid-friendly meals.
- Wash the long rice and drain it off and then let it dry off.
- Add oil. Heat it and add cumin seeds, dalchini, black pepper, chopped tomatoes, corns, bell peppers (yellow, green and red), jalapenos(optional) and saute them.
- Add rice and further stir it for a minute or two.
- Add 2 cups of water to the rice and cover the saucepan with the lid. Stir it till the entire water dries up.
- Open the lid when the ingredients have dried up and add coriander leaves or lemon juice to the entire mixture.
- The Mexican Rice is ready to eat.
- The preparation time is very less (10-15 minutes) and cooking time is around 20 minutes
2. Vegetable Stuffed Roti
A sumptuous, finger-licking and wholesome meal that can be enjoyed by our little fussy eaters. It takes around 30 minutes to prepare this delectable dish. This is a perfectly healthy dinner for kids.
- Prepare a soft dough according to your requirement.
- Make a few balls from the dough.
- Add grated carrots, paneer, chopped beans, chopped capsicum, ginger paste, and salt to it.
- Take a dough ball and make a hole in it and add the vegetable mixture to it.
- Seal it properly and roll it out into a round chapati carefully.
- Cook on medium flame as it is or add ghee to it while cooking and turn it into a stuffed paratha if your little one prefers that. Serve hot with dal or curd.
3. Veggie Khichdi
Its preparation and cooking time in total comes out to be around 30 minutes. This easy-to-cook and healthy dish is easy on your little one’s stomach and is highly nutritious. If you serve it with a teaspoon of ghee, it becomes more mouth-watering.
- Wash the rice and lentils (masoor) and keep them soaked in water for a few hours.
- Put the rice, lentils, and vegetables (spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, or any other as per the choice of your child) in the pressure cooker. Mix it.
- Add salt.
- Add water measuring three fingers above the mixture.
- Cook it up to 4 whistles.
- Vegetable Khichdi is ready
4. Vegetable Wraps
It is basically chapati with loads of healthy stuffing in it. It can be easily counted as one of the healthy kid friendly meals which the children savour.
- Prepare chapatis.
- Make a spread of either hung curd or mayonnaise with mint paste, pepper, salt, lemon juice, etc. and spread the mixture over the roti.
- Add lettuce leaf over the spread.
- Add vegetables (grated carrots, sliced onion, and diced tomatoes) on one side of the chapati and roll it. The wrap is ready to eat.
- Veggies can be cooked or kept raw as per your choice.
Non-Vegetarian Healthy Kid Friendly Meals
Many kids savour non-vegetarian dishes, especially chicken. It is both healthy and tasty. Following are the healthy meals for kids that would bring them happily towards the dining table:
1. Chicken Dumplings
It is one of the healthy kid friendly meals which has a good combination of fitness and taste in it. It requires less preparation time, as early as 30 minutes.
- Divide the wheat dough into small balls.
- Add minced chicken mix in it (minced chicken, salt, ginger paste, and slices of onion)
- Roll the wheat flour into small balls.
- Stuff the wheat balls with chicken mix and seal them.
- Spread the oil on the steamer and put wheat balls on it.
- Steam them for around 20 minutes and voila! your chicken dumplings are ready without oil and spice in it.
2. Lemon Chicken Pasta
Pasta is a dish enjoyed by the majority of the kids. You can prepare it by ensuring that it has the best of both factors – health as well as a tangy flavour. It is filling and nourishing. It is one of the healthy meals for the kids which they relish. It gets cooked within 30 minutes.
- Boil water and cook pasta in it.
- Drain the water and add pasta under the running water.
- In a pan, add canola oil, crushed garlic, cooked pasta, and shredded chicken and salt.
- Before eating or serving, add parmesan cheese to the dish.
Catch Them Young with Healthy Kid Friendly Meals
Now that you know the various recipes for ensuring your kids eat healthy without compromising on taste, it is important to ensure your kids learn about healthy food at a very young age. Here are some tips that can come in handy to keep your child from throwing tantrums when it comes to eating healthy food:
1. Educate about Healthy Kids Meals
Teach the kids the benefits of healthy eating. Talk to them about the importance of good health and living a disease-free life. If such conversations are part of the household talks, the kids are sure to pay heed and follow suit.
2. Be a Role Model
It is pointless discussing healthy dinners for kids when, as a parent, you, yourself are not following the same. Remember – kids watch your actions more than they listen to your words.
3. Have a Family Dinner Time
A family that eats together will generally have kids that eat healthy grains, fruits, etc. They will relish the healthy meals along with family discussions. Kids always look forward to such discussions daily if a habit is inculcated.
4. Let the Kids Choose their Quantity
Children flourish well if routines are made. However, if for some reason your child is not hungry at mealtime, make sure to not force the child. Forcing, even if you are giving kid friendly healthy meals, leads to food aversion. Let the child decide the quantity of the food item but ensure that whatever is prepared is taken by the child even if it is a tiny amount.
5. Invite a Friend
Children tend to eat healthy when they are with their friends. The distraction and fun will surely keep the tantrums at bay. Try concealing the dish by giving it fun shapes and a yummy twist that the kids will love.
6. Switch to Healthy Desserts
Kids are always excited about the desserts. Healthy meals for kids dessert will certainly serve the purpose. Always have a selection of healthy desserts like – sooji halwa, rice kheer, or carrot halwa made in ghee and jaggery. Frozen yoghurt, as healthy alternatives to ice creams, is also a great option.
7. Add a Healthy Twist to a Junk Food Recipe
Forcing your children to have healthy kids meals won’t work for a long time. Prepare them to have something not only healthy but something they relish too. Make a healthy Pizza with a healthy base and top it with lots of veggies and cheese for the taste. Watch your kids asking for more. Kids respond better with these healthy kid friendly meals.
A healthy dinner for kids is essential, as it provides them with sufficient and balanced nutrition. We have seen kids being more prone to lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. This can be combated with healthy kid friendly dinners as seen above. Much to the parent’s relief, there are many healthy and savoury dishes that the kids would want to eat. Now, fitness and taste can go hand in hand. What is your secret recipe for both healthy and delicious meals?