There is an awesome new cookbook available that you can download right now as a PDF! Keep the Beat Deliciously Healthy Family Meals recipes were created in partnership with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute's of Health We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition) Campaign, a national education program designed to help kids stay at a healthy weight. There are over 40 easy healthful recipes including main dishes, pastas, grains, vegetables and snacks—all are kid-friendly with the nutrition information listed. The recipes have a healthy spin but will sound familiar: Crunchy Chicken Fingers, Baked Eggrolls, Garden Turkey Meatloaf, and Buttons and Bows Pasta are a few examples. The recipes use basic ingredients with brief instructions (my favorite kind!). This is a great resource for everyone's kitchen for those times that you need ideas for unfussy nutritious meals or snacks.
I tried out the Baked French Toast Fritters with Apples and Bananas because I appreciated the modification of baking instead of frying and that the recipe used peanut butter and 100% whole wheat bread to boost the protein and fiber content. They came out a little soggy but I think I overdipped the sandwich in the egg mixture, thinking more was better, and used an insulated baking sheet, which prevented crisping of the bread. Next time I'd also probably leave out the apples (and serve fresh apple slices on the side). It's basically a PB and banana sandwich but cinnamon-y and warm, and a less messy breakfast treat to whip up than pancakes!
Getting your child involved during food shopping and cooking is one of the best ways to pique their appetite for meals served at the table. Have your preschooler or young child help out by:
- Picking at least one new fruit or vegetable to try, when shopping
- Washing fruits and vegetables (I'm always telling my son Jake to stop playing with running water in the sink so he readily volunteers for this task)
- Measuring dried pasta, beans or vegetables
- Adding premeasured ingredients to recipes
- Stirring ingredients
- Stuffing ingredients into a pita pocket
The Keep the Beat Deliciously Healthy Family Meals cookbook as well as Latino and African-American cookbooks are available free in hardcopy. Also check out the NHLBI website for many more recipe ideas and healthy eating tips!