Having trouble figuring out just what to feed tiny Tim when he comes over with his friends? Busy parents have all been there — the kids, as usual, are stark-raving hungry after a long day, and they want to eat — now. And it's all too easy to pop into a drive-thru and order a few kids' meals (or if they're not so tiny, a few combos), or open up a bag of tortilla chips and a jar of salsa and call it mission accomplished.
Only, this time, you're determined that things will be different. You refuse to bow before the combined might and tyranny of the fast-food industry and the processed snack food conglomerates. Childhood obesity, after all, has become a huge problem — the number of cases has tripled over the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Moreover, their latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicates that 13 percent of U.S. high school students were considered obese last year, with a body mass index greater than the 95th percentile. Clearly, it's time to nip the problem in the bud by marching back into the kitchen and serving some real food for a change.
But what can you make that won't immediately make them turn up their noses at your efforts? It's tough to come up with snacks that are nutritious without seeming awfully healthy. Because if they look and taste healthy, chances are, they won't eat it.
That's where we've stepped in to help out a little bit. We polled a few nutritionists and bloggers for some great-tasting recipes that will help you sneak something healthy into the kids' diet without them catching a clue. Plus, we think they're a great way to get them more involved in their kitchen.
Lauren Schmitt, a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, says that "kids will like fruits and vegetables more if they're involved in the cooking process." With a lot of spare time on their hands, summer is a great time to get them to help out with things like washing produce, measuring ingredients, and tossing salads.