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Healthy Recipes Your Kids Will Love

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First, a disclaimer: I do not have children, so any advice I give or knowledge comes from spending time and testing recipes on my clients and friends’ children. I have seen the difficulties many parents have trying to get their kids to eat vegetables. My heart goes out to them. Just last week, one father came into the kitchen where I was preparing the evening meal, lamenting that “In all areas of my life I have found success until now: I just can’t get my kid to eat his vegetables.” (The story wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention that they were vegetables that I, the well-paid private chef had prepared, confidently thinking that a bit of cheese sauce would be the magic trick to getting the broccoli down.) The recipes I offer here have been enjoyed by kids ages 2–7 and represent some of my favorites for their tasty flavor, variety of nutrients, and lack of gluten, dairy, and soy.

Even if your child is not allergic to these three popular ingredients, I highly recommend pulling these types of recipes into your arsenal. It has been found that children often end up developing intolerances to the foods they eat too much of, primarily gluten and dairy (I am convinced that my sensitivities to them come from a childhood diet that revolved around said foods). Many parents feel caught in the trap of mac ‘n’ cheese, grilled cheese, and quesadillas on a daily basis, and it is very important that you introduce meals into their diet that don’t contain these ingredients. It is also become known that many developmental childhood problems such as ADD, ADHD, Autism, and other mood and behavior disorders are greatly affected by diet and can be supported with proper foods.

Slimer Smoothie
Serves 3–4 
As I write this, I recognize that your kids may have no idea who Slimer from Ghostbusters is. Feel free to change the name to some green character that they will think is cool … the “Incredible Hulk,” maybe?

1 cup kale, chopped and lightly steamed to release nutrients
One banana, frozen and cut into chunks
One ripe avocado, peel and pit removed
Three ripe kiwis, peeled
1/2 cup coconut milk
Ice cubes, as desired for temperature and consistency
Almond, rice milk, or water for desired consistency

Add first five ingredients to Vita-mix or blender and blend well. Slowly blend in milk or water until you get the consistency you like. Add a couple ice cubes if you want it to be colder (though I don’t recommend drinking very cold beverages as they are more difficult for your body to digest).  Without the ice cubes and milk, pour into popsicle molds and freeze for a healthy mid-afternoon snack!

Blue’s Clues Smoothie
Serves 3–4

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup boysenberries (fresh or frozen)
One banana, frozen and cut into chunks
1 cup cooked purple cauliflower
1/2 cup coconut milk
Almond, rice milk, or water for desired consistency

Add first five ingredients to Vita-mix or blender and blend well. If you use all frozen fruit, it may be thick, so slowly blend in milk or water until you get the consistency you like. Pour leftovers into popsicle molds and freeze for a healthy mid-afternoon snack!

Purple Cauliflower Puree
Makes 10-1/2 cup servings

Two large heads purple cauliflower, core removed and cut into florets
3 cups rice or almond milk
Sea salt, to taste

Combine cauliflower and milk in a large pot, cover, and boil for one hour, or until cauliflower is very soft and falling apart. Cool completely. Strain out milk and discard (or drink as it has some of the cauliflowers nutrients—I add it to smoothies). Put cauliflower in a food processor and puree until very silky and smooth. Season with sea salt. Serve it as a substitution for mashed potatoes.

Salmon and Veggie Nuggets
Makes about 40

2 cups broccoli florets, steamed
1 cup red bell peppers, steamed and chopped
2 cups peas, fresh or frozen (thaw)
1/2 pound wild salmon, cooked and chopped, skin removed
1.5 cups corn flake crumbs, divided
Two eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons grapeseed-based mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt

Safflower oil, for frying or baking

Combine all ingredients in food processor (except 3/4 cup corn flake crumbs) and pulse until fully incorporated. Transfer to bowl and allow to rest for thirty minutes. Make small nuggets (about 3 tablespoons for each). Put remaining 3/4 cup cornflake crumbs onto a plate and cover nuggets with crumbs. 

Fry: Heat 1/2-inch safflower oil in pan over medium-high heat (make sure oil sizzles when you add the nuggets), cooking about two minutes per side, or until golden. 

Bake:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Place nuggets on a single layer and cook for about seven minutes on each side, or until nuggets are crispy. You can freeze leftovers and reheat individually in the oven or microwave.

Serve with ketchup or BBQ sauce.

Turkey and Veggie Patties
Makes about 16 2-inch patties

2/3 pound ground organic dark turkey
One large carrot, diced small
One-half small red onion, diced small
One-half large zucchini, diced small
Three cloves garlic, minced
Three green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Two eggs
1/2 cup ground rice crackers
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons coconut oil (for frying)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and allow to rest for thirty minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan. Form patties into 1/2-inch thick and about 2-inch wide patties. Fry for about three minutes on each side, or until firm to touch. Add remaining oil for next batch. Drain on paper towels. Freeze leftovers and reheat individually. Serve for breakfast with eggs or between whole wheat bread cut with a round cookie cutter for mini-burgers (sliders).


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