Never say never. Never ever. I’m breaking my own rule right now. See. It’s not a good idea to make grand declarations. Want to know what one of my own was? Well, pre-children, I declared I would never-ever make special food for my kids. You’re laughing right now, aren’t you? What vows did you make before you had children? How’d that work out for ya?
Probably about as well as my no-kiddie food thing worked out for me. In all actuality, it worked for about ten months. Yep, all through the bottle stage, that kid ate exactly what we ate. Or nothing. And as it turned out “nothing” was exactly what he needed. As soon as he actually got to the eating stage, like all parents, we caved.
Green beans not doing it for him? How ’bout with a little ketchup? Ketchup getting boring? Let’s throw some sprinkles in the stuff and serve it with a song and a dance. You see, it’s easy to get carried away when it comes to entertaining children with their food. It all starts out with good intentions and somewhere along the way that green bean ends up getting deep fried and sugar coated so he eats it. And you end up wearing a clown costume every night at dinner. I’m not big on clowns.
So instead, I’ve come to rely on a few staples for healthy food fun, all inspired by the aisles from my local Harris Teeter. Nothing over the top. Just a few tricks up the mom-sleeve to make otherwise boring veggies awesome and healthy snacks crave-able. Sound good? Stick around for kid-approved food tips, pics and recipes, then enter to win the Harris Teeter $100 Gift Card giveaway below.
Tip #1: Put it on a stick. Deli meat, cheese and veggies may sound ho-hum, but when you put it on a stick, they become Pirate Sword Bites or Princess Wand Snacks, and life is good again. We layered ours with Boar’s Head Prosciutto (it’s my favorite deli meat, so that’s what they get), colby cheese and cherry tomatoes, but layer up any fruits, cheeses, meats or veggies that floats your toddler’s boat.
Tip #2: Pretend it’s an ice cream snack. Call it ice cream and you’ll have the kids hanging off of the freezer door.
To pull off this tasty treat, round up a pint of blueberries, and using toothpicks, dip it into your favorite Harris Teeter yogurt, and place the coated berries on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Once done, put them in the freezer overnight. Transfer to ziploc bags for storage or serve immediately.
Tip #3: Give ‘em what they want. Are your kids calling for mac ‘n cheese? Again? I’m over the microwavable noodles with powdered cheese. You can actually make the real deal in the microwave and use honest-to-goodness dairy-case cheese, too. My kid declared this “Delicious.” I swear.
For the Homemade Microwavable Macaroni and Cheese, combine 1/3 cup whole grain elbows with 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of water. Microwave for six minutes, stirring at 4 minutes, 2 minutes, and one minute. Be careful. The bowl will be crazy hot. Once pasta is cooked and there is a little bit of pasta remaining, stir in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (I used Harris Teeter four-cheese Mexican blend). Return to the microwave for 30 more seconds. Remove from microwave and stir in 1/4 cup of milk or half and half and season with salt and pepper. This will be the creamiest microwave pasta you’ll ever have!
Tip #4: Call it a Popsicle. Much like Tip #2, if it’s frozen, and it’s sweet, it’s A-Ok in the Official Children’s Handbook. For our “popsicles,” I poured Harris Teeter blueberry yogurt in layers mixed with Harris Teeter brand Fruit O’s.
I actually had the kids sitting side-by-side for fifteen minutes with no fighting when I presented them with this treat. Even the dog was intrigued!
Tip #5: Make food art. Confession: I’ve never made one of those fancy kiddie lunch bento boxes. But I do make my children “Flower” Breakfast Sandwiches. Why? Because it’s easy. And, because it gets my no-veggie-toddler to eat veggies without even knowing it.
This breakfast or lunch is simple. Slice bell peppers and place in preheated and oiled skilled over medium heat. Break eggs into bell peppers. It’s okay if they run out a bit, you can scrape off any excess. Meanwhile, broil a few English muffins topped with your favorite shredded cheese until melted and golden. Once the yolk is set in the eggs to your taste, simply place on top of muffins and serve with sprinkle of salt, pepper and basil. If you’re good with an open face sandwich, serve as is, or top with another piece of toasted English muffin.
Tip #6: Combine Kid-Favorites in an unusual way. My kids LOVE a waffle. They are also big into pizza. How ’bout Waffle-Pizzas? Now, this is a cinch to make, and crazy easy to cut (those waffle grooves are PERFECT for pizza slicing). Plus, you can get the Harris Teeter wheat-grain frozen waffles and turkey pepperoni, which kicks up the health quotient a tad too!
To prepare, coat a baking pan with cooking spray. Top frozen waffles with you favorite Harris Teeter spaghetti sauce, cheese, and pizza toppings. Bake at 375 degrees until cheese is melted and golden, approximately 12 minutes. Serve and enjoy the peace while your children enjoy their meal!Do you have a kid-approved favorite we missed? Let us know and enter the giveaway for a $100 Harris Teeter gift card! a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Harris Teeter provided me with the supplies for the picnic and compensated me for my time. All opinions are my own.