I’m not sure how “kid food” actually came to be. Did it begin with kids asking for “plain” or was it perhaps parents thinking their kids wanted bland food? Then the question became, how did kid food segue into ground up chicken parts, formed into cartoon shapes then breaded & fried? Or unusable bits and pieces of beef and pork ground up, packed into casing and place on a bun with ketchup? How did “kid food” become so unhealthy? As a children’s nutrition advocate this is a question I ask myself daily. How did our culture determine that the appropriate food for kids should be full of sugar, unusable parts of animals, or deep fried in hydrogenated oil? It’s time to take back processed “kid food” and start making “healthy food for kids”.
How can we now take our kid’s food Out of the Box and begin making fresh? I think you’ll be surprised at how easy that actually is. I’m going to share a couple of tricks & recipes to help ease the transition from boxed kid food, to fresh, homemade food for kids.
The first step to making easy kid food from scratch is to level the playing field. If our children rely solely on “kid food” such as hot dogs, chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese for their meals, we as parents are forced into the role of short-order cook. Start offering one meal for the whole family. If dinner is baked chicken for us, then dinner can be baked chicken for them. Think of how often our children try to emulate us. They put on our shoes to traipse around the house, they use expressions they hear us using, they want to be big. Make it a privilege to eat grown-up food.
Let’s take a look each meal of the day:
Busy school mornings. How many of us turn to frozen waffles and pancakes that easily pop into the toaster for a quick weekday breakfast? I understand the ease of these boxed products, but why not make a batch and freeze them to use just as you would a boxed waffle or pancake. I am going to give you a fresh, whole wheat & flax pancake batter recipe that can be baked up in a waffle iron, or on a griddle, cooled, frozen and then popped into your toaster for easy weekday mornings. This Out of the Box Food Waffle & Pancake recipe is full of whole grain, omega-3s, and protein which will fuel our children for the active day that awaits them.
Lunch and Dinner. How about chicken nuggets that don’t involve turning to a box of cartoon shaped, pressed chicken parts? Here’s a fresh chicken nugget recipe — made with organic chicken breasts, breaded in whole wheat flour, and baked with olive oil — that you can keep in the freezer and quickly reheat for occasional treats. These Out of the Box Food Chicken Nuggets are whole, real food made with quality ingredients you put together yourself.
Dessert. It doesn’t need to mean junk. There are so many ways to offer sweet treats without sacrificing nutrition. Boxed cookies and other processed treats can contain potentially harmful ingredients and loads of sugar. By baking fresh we not only avoid artificial ingredients, but we can limit the sugar and include whole grains and other nutritious ingredients. These Out of the Box Food Mini Banana “Cupcakes”, turn the word cupcake into a synonym for nutrition. With only 1/3 cup of added sugar for the entire batch, these cupcakes offer whole grains, heart healthy flax meal and fresh fruit. When topped with 72% dark chocolate chips or a sour cream frosting, this wholesome snack is elevated into a special dessert treat without compromising nutrition.
I’m on a journey to bring nutrition back into our kids’ food. I hope you’ll join me by taking your kids’ food Out of the Box.
Out of the Box Food creator, Kim Gerber, is a Los Angeles mom, home-cook and Children’s Nutrition Advocate with a focus on feeding children healthy, unprocessed food. For more processed food comparisons and fresh alternative recipes visit www.outoftheboxfood.com