My kids ALWAYS prefer to drink juice over water—what kid doesn't? I don’t usually like to give them juice on a regular basis because of the sugar content. However, I do like giving them Tropicana Farmstand juices because they have no added sugar, they contain vitamins, and they have one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables per 250ml.
My kids love these juices because they taste great (one son prefers the peach mango and the other likes the pomegranate blueberry!). Knowing that they contain fruits and vegetables is definitely a huge deal and it makes me happy (and less stressed!).
I try to make fruit and veggie snacks look appetizing. Carrots, cucumber and celery cut into thin slices are great ways to make veggies look different and get the kids to eat them. This strategy also works with fruits. Cutting apples and nectarines into many thin slices so they are easier to eat rather than serving big pieces works well for us. I cut grapes in half to make them safer and look more tasty. Peeled oranges segmented and cut in half and cherries cut in half are also options. If your child is hungry and ends up eating their “healthy and interesting-looking” snack they will soon learn that fruit and vegetables can be delicious.
My new favourite cookbook lately has been Giada de Laurentiis's Feel Good Food. One recipe in particular that is amazing is the carrot and zucchini mini muffins. Each time I make this recipe I change it slightly making it more user friendly (ie: using the whole zucchini and not just 1/4, adding in flax and chia seeds to boost the fibre content, using whole wheat flour instead of hard to find flours like almond flour and brown rice flour, etc.).
Something I really like about this recipe is that you can see the carrot and zucchini, and my children still don't shy away from them because they taste so good (disclaimer: there are chocolate chips in them!).
I highly recommend this Feel Good Food.cookbook—the recipes are fresh, healthy, and a bit unexpected.
Finally, a warning: these muffins go fast, so be prepared to make another batch shortly after you have finished the first one.
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray one or two mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium size bowl, mix dry ingredients together, except for chocolate chips.
In another medium-size bowl, mix oil, maple syrup, and eggs together.
Combine wet and dry ingredients.
Stir in grated carrot and zucchini.
Lightly stir in chocolate chips.
Fill muffin tin so each one is 3/4 full.
Bake 10 minutes. You can bake two mini muffin tins side by side at the same time.
Allow to cool before eating.
Muffins freeze extremely well once completely cool.
My son loves creamy white Alfredo sauce on his pasta. I have made healthy-ish versions for him but when I came across versions of this cauliflower one on the internet I knew I had to try it. Not only did my son love it, I did too, especially with tons of parmesan on top! If you are trying to keep the recipe dairy-free use olive oil instead of butter, almond or soy milk instead of milk, and dairy-free parmesan cheese. I don't believe in always hiding veggies in your children's food but what they don't know definitely doesn't hurt them, especially when you are replacing cream and butter with cauliflower!
In order to get the sauce smooth and creamy you need a blender. I used my Vitamix but if you do not have one use any other blender, a hand immersion blender or food processor.
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling on top
Melt butter in a medium size skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 7 minutes. Do not let garlic burn.
Meanwhile, bring chicken broth to a boil, add cauliflower and allow to boil for 10 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender and can be cut with a fork.
With a slotted spoon, transfer cooked cauliflower into blender, or whatever you are using for blending. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth used to cook cauliflower, the butter/garlic mixture, 1 cup of milk, and salt. Blend well.
Mix half of sauce with cooked pasta. I used Fettuccine to make it most like Fettuccine Alfredo but use whatever type of pasta you like. Top with parmesan cheese.
Makes 6 or more servings.
Adapted from Pinch of Yum