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Mommy Makeovers: Lighten Kids' Favorite Foods

Try these healthier versions of family favorites
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Transforming Kids Favorite Foods continued...

According to Syd Carter, an editor with AllRecipes.com, parents who visit the recipe web site have noted that their kids loved:

  • Fajitas
  • Kabobs
  • Smoothies
  • Pot roast
  • Banana bread*
  • All things Mexican

Jessica Hastereiter, associate editor for American Girl magazine, encourages parents to turn food preparation into a craft, where kids get to put the finishing touches on themselves. Some kid-friendly foods she mentioned were pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, hamburgers*, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets.

5 Quick Makeovers

Just by making a few ingredient adjustments, we can make many of these favorite kid foods lower in calories and fat and higher in fiber and nutrients. Here are five quick examples:

1. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

  • Use 1 tablespoon of natural-style peanut butter.
  • Use 1 tablespoon of less-sugar grape jelly (such as Smucker's Low Sugar).
  • Use whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, or fiber-enriched white bread.

BEFORE: 335 calories, 10.9 g fat, 2.1 g saturated fat, 2.5 g fiber
AFTER: 290 calories, 10.9 g fat, 1.7 g saturated fat, 5.5 g fiber
SAVINGS: 45 calories saved, plus 3 grams of fiber added!

2. Macaroni and cheese from the box

  • Use 2 tablespoons of no-trans-fat margarine (choose one with 8 grams of fat per tablespoon) instead of 4 tablespoons of butter.
  • Use low-fat milk instead of whole milk.
  • Add a tablespoon or two of fat-free or light sour cream, if needed for creaminess.
  • Add veggies on the side or in the macaroni (such as 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli per serving).

SAVINGS: 72 calories and 8 g fat per serving (if four servings per box), plus 2.3 g fiber added!

3. Hot dogs

  • Choose a reduced-fat hot dog. (Ball Park Lite, Louis Rich Turkey Franks, and Hebrew National Reduced Fat are great options.)
  • Look for whole-wheat or higher-fiber buns.
  • Add onions and tomato, if desired, for added nutrition.
  • Choose lower-fat and lower-calorie condiments such as ketchup or mustard.

BEFORE: 366 calories, 22 g fat, 9.1 g saturated fat, 1.2 g fiber
AFTER: 325 calories, 11 g fat, 3.2 g saturated fat, 5.8 g fiber
SAVINGS: 41 calories, 11 g fat, and 5.9 g saturated fat, plus 4.6 g fiber added!

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