Odds are that your kids don’t typically beg for fresh broccoli and roasted vegetables. If they’re like mine, they want the typical “kid foods” – mac ‘n cheese, hot dogs, burgers, fries… all the simple, delicious, carby and fatty foods that most adults simply can’t get away with (if they ever want to be able to face the scale again, anyway). Keep them – and you – happy with some simple modifications:
From time to time, a greasy slice of NY style won’t hurt too much. But to satisfy the nearly daily requests, we recommend a few simple swaps. For starters, make-at-home will always give an automatic calorie and fat reduction. Next, give the crust a makeover: Try a thin crust whole wheat version which is quick and easy to make and ditches the sugary white version or, if you have some time, make a cauliflower crust. You’ll never know the difference! Next, try adding dried herbs to regular, plain tomato sauce – those pre-made jarred sauces can come with upwards of 20 grams of sugar per serving!
Mac ‘n Cheese
There are so many great homemade mac ‘n cheese recipes, but many still use heavy creams and tons of butter. Try a simple sauce by melting two tablespoons of butter, then stirring in two tablespoons of flour. To that, add a pinch of salt and a cup of low-fat milk; let it cook (stirring constantly) until it thickens and gets bubbly. Turn the heat off and add your choice of shredded cheese; then, when it’s combined, stir it into your noodles and serve. Try adding in some kale to sneak in a vegetable (it’s delicious – we promise!) or swap your regular noodles for a lentil noodle, whole wheat noodle or even bean noodle.
Burgers are an American staple for a good reason: they’re delicious. But they come with lots of carbs and fats as typically served at a restaurant. At home, it’s easy to make them healthier. Start by making sure you’re using a low-fat meat; ground turkey is a great option that is relatively low-cost and also a great source of iron. Swap the standard bun for a whole-wheat version or consider dropping the bun all together and instead using a few lettuce leaves – Boston lettuce works perfectly and adds a bit of buttery-ness. Have a kid who insists on the bun? Try a slider bun with an “oversized” burger. Next, consider the toppings. Avocado, fresh tomatoes, red onion and mushrooms are all delicious ways to sneak a fruit or vegetable into the mix.
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