Sometimes that sugary delight is the only thing that’ll get your kid out of bed in the morning, but for a super-charged alternative (if your tot is in a cooperative mood), try making this puffed berry bowl. The nuts, fruits and milk make it a perfect brain-boosting combo of fiber, antioxidants, healthy fats and protein.
Make puffed berry bowl »
If your kid likes instant oatmeal 2 of 21
Having a breakfast you can make in one minute is a lifesaver on those days when everyone’s running behind, and those flavor choices (strawberry, blueberry, peach, oh my!) can’t be beat. But on those mornings when you wake up with the roosters, use the extra time to expose your kids to the joy of natural ingredients. Natural oats and dried fruits are low in sugar and high in fiber, making them a nutritional powerhouse.
Make spiced oatmeal with dried fruit »
If your kid likes cereal bars 3 of 21
Having a few cereal bars in your purse can make the difference between a cranky child who needs to leave the store and a child who lets you get your errands done without a struggle. But some rainy Saturday afternoon bake a batch of these homemade oat bars (inspired by a White House chef) and you’ll have another high-fiber, all-natural portable snack.
Make homemade fruit and oat bars »
If your kid likes toaster pastries 4 of 21
There’s no denying how tasty frozen tarts are (they’re not just for kids), but you can impress your kids by making them together at home. Use ingredients like whole wheat and all-natural fruit spreads, which still give everyone’s taste buds a treat.
Make whole-wheat breakfast pastries »
If your kid likes frozen French toast sticks 5 of 21
Who can resist preparing a brunch the kids will love in five minutes? But when you want it to be really special, Challah bread is easy to turn into French toast bites (no need to soak the bread), and making them yourself allows you to control how much butter and sugar your kid consumes.
Make Challah French toast »
If your kid likes pre-packaged lunch boxes 6 of 21
We know how persuasive kids can be in the grocery store (give them want they want and avoid a public meltdown), so these lunches may just save your sanity. But you can also get the compartment effect by packing some homemade cheese and crackers in a Bento box or Laptop Lunch of her choosing. Being healthy was never so easy!
Make a homemade, “pre-packaged” lunch »
If your kid likes chocolate milk 7 of 21
If your kid has a chocolate milk “addiction,” you can easily create a DIY version using pure cocoa powder and 1% or 2% milk. He’ll probably think it’s cool that his mom knows how to make real chocolate milk!
Make pure cocoa milk »
If your kid likes white bread 8 of 21
White bread is a great compliment to PB&J, but it’s not the only game in town. Whole grain, potato bread and even tortillas make for healthy sandwich envelopes, and unrefined grains are good sources of vitamins such as potassium and magnesium and complex carbohydrates. They’re also naturally low in fat.
Make whole-grain and flax blueberry muffins »
If your kid likes condiments 9 of 21
Look, we know your kids probably won’t eat their veggies or sandwiches without their favorite condiments, so our main word of advice is mind their portion sizes; certain dips and sauces are high in sugar and sodium. And another thing to try is homemade versions, like this homemade ketchup recipe.
Make homemade ketchup »
If your kid likes jarred salsa and cheese sauces 10 of 21
When it comes to feeding a horde of kids after school, nachos are an extremely easy snack, so it always helps to have the jarred stuff in the pantry. On quieter days, it’s worth making nachos from scratch with a wider choice of cheeses and fresh or homemade salsa. Your kids will get calcium, potassium and more essential vitamins without even realizing it.
Make restaurant-style salsa »
If your kid likes hot dogs and hamburgers 11 of 21
And really what kid doesn’t (especially slathered with ketchup)? If your kid is a fan of these grilled meats, you can try mixing things up — he may just like their veggie cousins too. These white bean burgers, for example, are rich in protein, vitamins and fiber, and their creamy texture may just have your kid singing their praises.
Make white bean veggie burgers »
If your kid likes chicken nuggets 12 of 21
It’s a huge treat for almost any kid to get lunch or dinner at their favorite drive-thru, and no parent should forget that bargaining chip. But fried chicken fingers or nuggets can be high in trans- and saturated fats, not to mention that some are made of questionable ingredients. If you want to reward your kid with one of his favorite meals, buy a reputable brand or try making nuggets at home — they’ll have half the fat and calories … and you’ll know it’s real chicken.
Make baked crispy chicken fingers »
If your kid likes rainbow-colored yogurt 13 of 21
Kids benefit from all the nutrients and the live active culture naturally found in yogurt. Expand their horizons by adding color and taste to plain vanilla with fresh fruit and extra sweetness with honey. It’ll bring a whole new meaning to eating the rainbow …
Make power yogurt »
If your kid likes fruit gummies 14 of 21
They’re colorful, they’re yummy and, most important, they’re gummy — all things your kids probably love. But if you want to cut back on sugar, try making homemade fruit leathers. Since they’re made from 100% real fruit, they’ve got all the essential vitamins … and you may just avoid extra trips to the dentist.
Make homemade mango lime fruit leather »
If your kid likes cheese crackers 15 of 21
These are another great on-the-go snack, but if you’re in the comfort of your own home and want to get your kid in the kitchen, make these homemade crackers together. Pull out the cookie cutters for fun shapes and whole-wheat flour and yogurt for the nutrients.
Make homemade cheese crackers »
If your kid likes fruit drinks 16 of 21
“Cocktails” and “punch” are great treats for pint-sized partiers, but they can also be code for high-fructose corn syrup and concentrates. When it comes to everyday drinking, swap these with 100% fruit juice mixed with water, and your kid will get all the nutrition without the extra sugar.
Make grape jiggle cups »
If your kid likes peanut butter crackers 17 of 21
These make for an easy, filling snack to bring on long road trips or days at the beach, but when you’re at home, there’s also the old-fashioned DIY version. Just add a spoonful of natural peanut butter and smoosh between two whole-grain crackers and you’ve got a fiber- and protein-packed treat that’ll hold them over ’til dinner.
Make homemade peanut butter sandwich crackers »
If your kid likes mac and cheese 18 of 21
Every kid loves seeing that magic blue box and sometimes you just need to be able to make dinner in 10 minutes. But your kid is also likely to love egg noodles or whole-wheat pasta with a smidge of butter and a pinch of Parmesan. (You can try throwing some veggies in there too.) You’ll appreciate the fact that you’re controlling their sodium and fat, and your kids will appreciate the tasty dinner.
Make healthy mac & greens »
If your kid likes soda 19 of 21
Soda is another party favorite and special treat for swarms of kids. But when it comes to giving your kid something to drink with everyday lunch or dinner, try offering alternatives like homemade flavored water or flavored carbonated water. Your kid will stay hydrated without the sugar rush.
Make flavored water with homemade simple sryup »
If your kid likes fish sticks 20 of 21
Ah, an age-old comfort meal. Sometimes nothing but this snack will do on a gray day. But similar to chicken nuggets, if you’re not buying a reputable brand, you don’t always know what makes up the white stuff. So when you have the time and the desire to surprise your kids, this meal can easily be made at home while maintaining the flavor and the omega-3s found naturally in fish.
Make Cat Cora’s crispy baked fish sticks »
Worried About What Your Kids Eat? 21 of 21
Although it’s not always practical, making meals at home gives you absolute control over the ingredients that go into your kid’s food. You can make simple modifications, like sneaking in flax seed or fiber, and you can help out Mother Nature by cutting down on waste from store packaging while saving money. Not to mention, getting your kids involved in the kitchen helps them appreciate healthy foods more. And when you do go to the store, just check the labels of the foods you’re buying; the more natural the ingredients, the healthier they are for your family.