Mother serving children food

Photo: © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation

Mealtime can be stressful for many parents, and giving into a child's demands for quick and unhealthy foods is an all too easy route to follow, say Tracey Seaman and Tanya Wenman Steel, authors of Real Foods for Healthy Kids. Tracey and Tanya offer easy ways to make meals kid-friendly and healthy at the same time.
Grocery cart with food

Photo: © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation

2. Stock Your Kitchen with Healthy Basics
Keep healthy basics in your refrigerator and pantry so that you always have the essentials on hand. When shopping for these basics, try to buy organic, Tracey and Tanya say. Here are some items to add to your shopping list that they say will add more protein, calcium and vitamins into your child's favorite meals:
  • Protein: Low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, tofu, lean meat, chicken, fish and dried beans
  • Calcium: Cheese, milk products, yogurt, salmon, tuna, low-fat ice cream, dark leafy veggies such as turnip greens and bok choy
  • Vitamins: Colorful fruits and vegetables, milk products, eggs, healthy oils, whole grains, fish, red meat and nuts
Mother handing children packed lunches

Photo: © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation

3. Pack Fun School Lunches and Snacks
Wraps and salads, such as the Choppy-Choppy Salad with Rockin' Ranch Dressing, are big hits with kids and make for fun packed lunches—but don't forget the snacks! Tracey and Tanya say you should pack at least two snacks for your child to have while at school. "You want to give them something they can eat at 10 in the morning and 3 p.m. when they are done and about to go to soccer practice or music," Tanya says. "It is important for them to have a high-energy snack, which doesn't mean high-sugar. It means fiber and something with protein and complex carbohydrates. Extreme Granola is a perfect example, they say.

Another good option is homemade Golden Garlic Hummus served with fresh veggies and whole wheat pitas. Treats like Ultimate Oatmeal Cookies and Mini-Whoopee Pies are delicious childhood favorites, made with wholesome ingredients and can be enjoyed in moderation, Tracey and Tanya say.
Mother cooking and talking with children

Photo: © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation

4. Don't Be a Short-Order Cook
Dinner time is family time and everyone should eat the same thing, preferably at the same time, so that you don't spend hours cooking different foods, Tracey and Tanya say. Try the crowd-pleasing Shrimp Confetti Tostadas or a healthier version of Tanya's grandmother's Shepherd's Pie.
Omelet in pan

Photo: © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation

5. Plan Breakfast the Night Before
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and when you want to make breakfast extra healthy, turn to the omelet pan. You can chop your omelet fillings the night before and whip them up first thing in the morning. "Omelets are great because you can put all kinds of stuff in them," Tanya says. "Cook [the eggs] over a medium heat, using a nonstick pan. Put enough egg in the pan to make a thick omelet."

An even easier way to make breakfast in a snap is to make a dish like Tomorrow's French Toast the night before, Tracey and Tanya say. "It is incredibly simple, and you pop it in the oven when you wake up and put the coffee on in the morning, and then the French toast is ready and it is a beautiful tasty dish," Tanya says.
Mother and daughter looking at a restaurant menu

Photo: © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation

6. Order Smart when Eating Out
When you're out at a restaurant, don't order a kids' meal for your children, Tracey and Tanya say. Instead, order from the adult menu and split entrées between your children, Tracey says. This way, you will likely find healthier options and have better control over the calories and fat your child consumes.

Healthy first foods for your baby
The information provided here is for entertainment and informational purposes. You should consult your own physician before starting any treatment, diet or exercise program. The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.


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