Healthy food for your family doesn't mean you eat nothing but salads and celery sticks. You have plenty of ways to transform your favorite dishes into healthier versions. Even kid foods like macaroni and cheese, pizza, and hot dogs can be somewhat wholesome with a few easy changes.
Add these fast fixes and family-friendly recipes to your mealtime routine.
5 Quick Makeovers
With a few ingredient swaps, you can slash calories and fat -- and add fiber and nutrients -- to some classic kid-favorites:
1. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- Use 1 tablespoon of natural-style peanut butter.
- Use 1 tablespoon of low-sugar grape jelly or an all-natural jam with NO sugar added.
- Use whole wheat or whole-grain bread, or fiber-enriched white bread.
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 2 of fat-free or light sour cream, if it needs more creaminess.
- Add veggies on the side or stir them in the macaroni (such as 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli per serving).
3. Hot dogs
- Choose a frank with less fat.
- Look for whole wheat or higher-fiber buns.
- Top with peppers or tomato to boost the veggie power.
- Choose lower-fat and lower-calorie condiments such as ketchup or mustard.
4. French fries
- Choose lower-fat frozen French fries.
- Bake them instead of frying.
- Replace some of the fries on your kids' plates with a fruit and a vegetable.
5. Mexican dishes
- Use low-fat Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese.
- Use extra-lean meat (super-lean ground beef or ground sirloin, skinless chicken breast, lean pork trimmed of visible fat). Or use beans instead of meat.
- Use fat-free or light sour cream.
- Work in whole grains and vegetables (such as brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, tomatoes, green peppers, etc.).
2 Healthy Twists on Family Favorites
Your family won't even know they're eating healthier when they dig into these delicious dishes.
Easy French-Bread Pizza
This quick alternative to frozen pizza is easy for kids to put together. Then Mom or Dad can do the broiling.