Healthy Junk Food Alternatives for Kids
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is so important at any age, yet getting your kids to eat their greens can sometimes feel like a real challenge. From improved concentration to higher energy levels and better sleep, eating well is crucial for growing bodies and minds. Here's how to ensure your kids don't miss their five-a-day when McDonald's is on the menu.
Make Your Own Healthy Junk Food
Food such as burgers and chicken nuggets are typically considered junk food. Although when made from scratch they can be quite healthy and nutritious. They're also so easy to make. For burgers, all you need is a pack of mince, a jar of pickles, some buns and a lump of cheddar. You could even sneak in some sliced tomatoes and lettuce for bonus nutrients! For chicken nuggets, why not slice chicken breasts into bite-size chunks and roll them in breadcrumbs or cornflakes?
Add Healthy Sides
It's not always possible to avoid the temptation of a drive-through. But you can at least have something nutritious on the side, such as a salad or even home-made, oven-baked fries. Even healthier if you leave the skin on for some fiber! Simply slice some potatoes or sweet potatoes into matchsticks or wedges, drizzle them in olive oil, sprinkle over some salt and pepper and pop them in an oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Make a Healthy Dessert
Kids often have a sweet tooth, and there are plenty of healthy alternatives to junk food, such as fresh fruit, fruit compote and yoghurt that can fulfil their desires. If that's not enough of a treat, you can pair fruit with cream or ice-cream, or turn compote into a crumble with an oat-based topping. While not entirely virtuous, your kids will at least be getting one of their five-a-day.
Go Light on Condiments
Sauces and salad dressings are often full of sugar and additives, so try to go light on these and make your own where you can. They're often very easy to whip up. For example, swap salad dressings for a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and swap ketchup for a fresh tomato salsa.
Healthy Snacks, Breakfasts and Lunches
You can diminish your kids desire for junk food by ensuring they stay satisfied throughout the day with healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks. Porridge, fruit, yoghurt and eggs make a nutritious breakfast, freshly made sandwiches, wraps and soups are ideal for lunch, and healthier snacks include fruit, yoghurt, popcorn, raw vegetables, nuts and dips.
Watch the Drinks
Sugary, fizzy drinks are terrible for teeth and energy levels and your kids can quickly develop a taste for them. Be sneaky and swap fizzy drinks for squash with soda water! Better still, give them fresh fruit juice or entice them towards water by flavoring it with sprigs of mint or frozen berries and citrus fruits.
Kids will be kids and keeping them away from junk food all the time will only make them want it more. A little bit of naughty food every now and again won't do them any harm but when you can, try and tempt them with some healthy junk food alternatives on the side. That will make the trip to the drive-thru a really special treat!