Health and Parenting

Raising fit Kids: Food

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caramel and popcorn
1 / 10

Caramel-Raisin Popcorn Balls

Party time! But you don't have to serve up just junk. Get creative with the menu, and you can give your kids healthier, nutrient-packed foods that they'll love.

Score by putting out sweet and salty popcorn balls. The popcorn is crunchy and high in fiber. The raisins add sweetness and more fiber. These low-fat snacks are fun to eat -- the perfect party treat!

Because popcorn is a choking hazard, do not serve this treat to children ages 3 and under. 

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rocky road brownies
2 / 10

Rocky Road Brownies

These brownies are lower in fat than other recipes. Marshmallows make them extra gooey and fun without adding extra fat. Nuts add some protein. Let your kids top the brownies with chocolate chunks and nuts for the final rocky touches. Make sure, of course, that none of your party guests is allergic to nuts. 

Cooking with your kids is a great way to get them interested in food and making healthy choices. For example, they can learn that sweets like these brownies are OK as a "sometimes" food. And a reasonable portion is a 2-inch square brownie. This recipe makes 16.

 

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veggie chicken pizza
3 / 10

Garden Chicken Pizza

Kids and pizza are always a great combo. Think outside the pizza box: Don't order pies with pepperoni and sausage. Instead, let the kids make their own dough with whole wheat flour for a healthy, DIY pizza party!

Quick-rising yeast is the secret to dough in less than an hour. Offer toppings like fresh veggies and lean chicken to cut back on unhealthy saturated fat that you’d find in pepperoni and sausage.

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veggies and dip
4 / 10

Ranch Dip & Crunchy Vegetables

Instead of chips and dip, offer this tangy and crunchy combo. Choose all kinds of fun, colorful vegetables like carrot sticks, grape tomatoes, snap peas, and broccoli florets.

Kids will have a blast dunking them in this low-fat, easy-to-make ranch dip. Or use reduced-fat Greek yogurt instead of low-fat mayo and buttermilk. Bonus: Greek yogurt is protein-packed!

Whip it up in 15 minutes and it keeps for 3 days.

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chicken nuggets
5 / 10

Spicy Pecan Popcorn Chicken

Kids love chicken nuggets. Ditch the processed kind that can have unhealthy fillers, and make your own using skinless chicken breast and pecans (unless one of your guests is allergic to nuts) for extra protein and crunch.
Use whole wheat bread crumbs or whole grain cereal for a crispy coating and a fiber boost.

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potato
6 / 10

Oven "Fries"

Finger food! These baked "fries" are crispy outside and buttery on the inside without the fat of frying. To make 4 servings:

  • Cut two large Yukon Gold potatoes into wedges. Keep the skin on for added crispiness and fiber.
  • Toss them in 4 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme, if you like.

Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 450°F for 20 minutes, turn once.

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rice meatballs
7 / 10

Saucy Porcupine Meatballs

Take a plain meatball, add long-grain brown rice, and suddenly you've got little spikey porcupines! 

Plus, using a whole grain like brown rice instead of white bread crumbs adds healthy fiber to these protein-packed snacks. Six meatballs make a serving that clocks in at about 300 calories.

You can make a batch of kid-pleasing meatballs well in advance of your party. They freeze well for up to 3 months.

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cheesy popcorn
8 / 10

Cheesy Popcorn

This cheesy popcorn is way healthier than the movie theater version. Popcorn is fun and it can be so much healthier than chips when it is air-popped! Popcorn is a whole grain so it has fiber. And each 1-cup serving is low in calories and saturated fat.

To make: Toss 4 cups of hot air-popped popcorn with 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Add cayenne pepper to taste for a spicy kick. 

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red pepper
9 / 10

Tuna Schooners

Let tuna set sail in sweet pepper boats for a quirky, healthy party treat.
Mix quinoa into plain tuna to add fiber. Stir in cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, and other favorite veggies for more crunch and nutrition. Scoop seeds out of pepper halves and tuck tuna inside. Serve with fresh fruit on the side.

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shrimp tostada
10 / 10

Tasty, Tangy Shrimp Tostadas

Let kids get creative stacking up shrimp, cabbage salad, guacamole, salsa, and other fixings on tostada shells. There's no cooking involved in this high-fiber, high-protein fiesta. Put out all the ingredients in big bowls, and everyone can build their own masterpiece.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 8/27/2017 Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 27, 2017

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

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2)         Kate Brittle / Flickr Collection / Getty

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SOURCES:

USDA National Nutrient Database.

WebMD: "Caramel-Raisin Popcorn Balls."

WebMD: "Ranch Dip & Crunchy Vegetables."

WebMD: "Saucy Porcupine Meatballs."

WebMD: "Oven 'Fries'."

WebMD: "Rocky Road Brownies."

WebMD: "Spicy Pecan Popcorn Chicken."

WebMD: "Tuna Schooners."

WebMD: "Cheesy Popcorn."

WebMD: "Tasty Tangy Shrimp Tostados."

WebMD: "Garden Chicken Pizza."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 27, 2017

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.