Feeding children can be one of the most satisfying and stressful parts of parenting – and most of us have ended up with a fearsome mealtime stand off at some point. So to avoid the meltdowns we’ve cooked up some sneaky ideas for giving kids the foods they love, that are packed full of the nutrients they need, from breakfast to dessert.
There is always a temptation to pack the kids full of vegetables and homemade fare and then munch on some toast when they are tucked up in bed. After all who isn’t shattered once the day’s work is done? That’s why Caroline Hire has specially created these family meals that suit everyone from toddlers to teens, so you won’t be making an excess of different meals (or have an excess of washing up).
All the meals are freezable too, so make a couple in advance, or double up your portions, and you won’t have to reach for a naughty ready meal in times of crisis.
- Easy lamb tagine
- Easy beef stew with sweet potato topping
- Chicken & vegetable casserole
- Easy fish cakes
Make the best of breakfast
It goes without saying, but setting your child up for the day with a healthy breakfast will make you both feel good. Something filling and fibrous should get the digestive system going and keep kids full up until lunch. Try serving porridge with a side portion of blueberries or chopped banana for an extra health boost, and plenty of stirring fun.
- Peanut butter & banana on toast
- Melon & crunchy bran pots
- Apple & sultana porridge
Pasta provides a good source of energy, fibre and B vitamins into a child’s diet. Plus there’s nothing like a bit of spaghetti slurping to get some hidden vegetables into the kids, and pasta makes a great base for sneaking in all sorts of ingredients, like tofu and spinach, that might not normally be on your child’s top 10 list.
- Super-veg pasta
- Tofu & spinach cannelloni
- Creamy ham, leek & mushroom spaghetti
- Pesto chicken kebabs with roasted veg pasta
Fish for thought
If your child isn’t one of those perfect-sorts who love nothing more than a bowl of mackerel, then these recipes are great for filling them with healthy fresh fish, and they’ll still feel like they are tucking into a treat. From speedy homemade fish fingers to salmon and ginger fish cakes – you can even throw in some healthy sweet potato chips.
- Salmon & ginger fishcakes
- Fish fingers & mushy peas
- Prawn & cod cakes
- Classic chunky fish cakes
Freshly made soups make a great freezer staple for quick lunchtime meals, try serving some of these classic favourites with cheesy toast soldiers, vegetable crudités and let them sprinkle on yoghurt and seeds to get them digging in double-quick.
This lentil soup is packed full of pulses and sweetened with grated apple and sweet potato, simply adjust the curry powder depending on your child’s tastes.
Sweet potato & lentil soup
A creamy yet silky tomato soup has to be the ultimate comfort food after a long day at school.
Creamy tomato soup
Perfect for sneaking in an abundance of courgettes, the cheesy topping on this soup is often a winner with kids.
Courgette, potato & cheddar soup
Curry in a hurry
Experimenting with different flavours is a brilliant part of developing your child’s tastes, and these healthy, mild dishes make a great starting point for introducing them to spicier food:
- Mumbai potato wraps with minted yogurt relish
- Creamy veggie korma
- Mild chicken curry
Putting something speedy on the plate is often a priority with kids of any age, but fast food doesn’t have to mean food that is high in fat, salt and sugar. Simple ingredients like eggs, pulses and beans can quickly be transformed into a delicious and nutritious supper.
Omelette can make great finger food for younger children if you cut it into strips with scissors. And of course it can be whipped up in no time, using whatever fillings you have to hand in the fridge – here’s some inspiration:
Want more inspiration on cooking with children? Check out this.