5 Fabulous Food Swaps for Healthier Kids
In last week’s post, I shared a few of my battle-tested tips to help instill healthier eating habits in the younger set.
As a parent and now a grandparent believe me, I understand the challenges involved in getting as many nutrients as possible into those (at times) reluctant, nutrition-averse little people. However, the good news is that it is possible. One of the easiest ways to get them to eat better is to create a few smart swaps, trading junk foods for simple, wholesome versions that look, feel and taste similar to the originals not-so-healthy ones. Here are a few smart swaps that have served me and my family well. I hope they’ll do the same for you:
1) Salty and crunchy snack swap
Trade in greasy potato chips and chemical-laden, processed dips for bean chips and salsa, or homemade kale chips or fresh veggie strips with hummus. There are plenty of bean chips on the market now and kale chips are one of the simplest chips you can make (and the kids will have fun washing and tearing off the kale leaves from their stems!)
2) Frozen dessert swap
Switch ice cream desserts for an “enjoy anytime treat,” the yogurt parfait. In a tall narrow glass, layer in fresh berries, Greek yoghurt, crushed nuts and a sprinkling of ground flax and cinnamon. If your kids like a firmer, more frozen texture, chill in the freezer for a few minutes before serving.
3) Processed pudding pack swap
Typical processed puddings are poor excuses for food, so trade that synthetic stuff in for pudding that packs a nutritional punch, like my chocolate avocado pudding (see recipe below) that’s rich in both taste and nutrients.
4) Grandma’s berry cobbler swap
A classic apple or berry cobbler is heavenly no matter what age you are, but nobody needs all that extra sugar! To give the kids that yummy pie taste without the sugar rush and crash, try my Almost Apple Pie recipe (see recipe below) and feel free to substitute just about any fruit in season.
5) Classic milkshake swap
An old-fashioned milkshake doesn’t do your kids any dietary favors, so instead, blend up a far healthier smoothie that’s dairy-free and loaded with wonderful nutrients. Better yet, smoothies are always a hit with the kids. (See recipe below)
Swift Swap: Chocolate Avocado Playtime Pudding
Ingredients: 1 ripe avocado; 3 dates, pitted; 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened nondairy beverage; 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder; 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (you can vary this recipe with other pure extracts—maple, orange, almond, etc.)
Directions: Peel and pit the avocado. In the bowl of a high-speed blender, place the avocado, dates, nondairy beverage, cocoa powder, and vanilla and process until smooth and creamy. Top with unsweetened shredded coconut, grated orange peel or toasted nuts.
Swift Swap: Apple Almost Pie
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small ramekin or baking dish, layer in 1/2 cup of chopped apples and toss with 1⁄2 teaspoon of chia seeds. Top with a drizzle of maple syrup and allspice or cloves to taste. Top with flaxseed (ground or whole) and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the fruit is softened (but not liquid). Remove from the oven, let stand for 3 minutes and enjoy warm!
Swift Swap: Chocolate Coconut “Shake”
In a blender, combine 1-cup plain, unsweetened almond milk, 10-ice cubes and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Add 1-pitted date plus a pinch of cinnamon and blend until smooth.
For more ideas on how to create a vibrant diet, gut microbiome and healthy life for yourself and your family, check out my new book The Swift Diet: 4 Weeks to Mend the Belly, Lose the Weight and Get Rid of the Bloat.