The “Yuck” Factor: Getting Kids to Try (and Like) Healthy, New Foods

Focused loving father is using the blender to make smoothie while his son is holding ears while smiling in a bright kitchen. (Focused loving father is using the blender to make smoothie while his son is holding ears while smiling in a bright kitchen.,If you’re a parent, you may find yourself in a tug of war with your kids about food. That includes what you’d like them to try, and what they’ll actually eat. This battle of wills can be frustrating, especially when you’ve exhausted all methods of persuasion.

Bribing picky eaters with dessert isn’t the way to go, either. Treats are okay once in a while, but the idea is to get them used to eating healthier food overall. Having them try healthier choices (many made in a way that they’ve never had before, and might like) is the goal.

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Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Homemade shepherd's pie made in a skillet. (Serves 4)

Got leftover chicken and veggies? This Irish classic is as easy as pie! With a prep time of 40 minutes and a cook time of just 10 minutes, it’s a lighter recipe, too (just 336 calories per serving, 32 mg cholesterol, 4 g of total fat, 24 g of protein, and just 302 mg of sodium), using chicken (instead of beef or lamb). Set your table for St. Patrick’s Day dinner.

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No-Bake Oatmeal-Peanut Butter Cookies

(Serves 18)Raw uncooked peanut butter cookie snack on plate (no need to cook)

Turn off your oven — no baking needed for these chewy treats! Perfect with that cup of tea or glass of skim milk, you’ll love this combo of peanut butter and whole grain oats, with just 120 calories per serving (two cookies!), 18 g of carbs, 5 g of cholesterol, 5 g total fat, 1 g of fiber, 2 g of protein, 15 g of sodium, and 12 g total sugar (using granulated  sugar).

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Black Bean Soup with Red Miso and Ginger

Traditional Brazilian cuisine (caldinho de feijão) with herbs on a green napkin and a traversed spoon metal spoon.Loaded with probiotic goodness, red miso (not white), a Japanese cooking staple made from fermented soy beans, is the star here (for more flavor and texture). At just 179 calories per serving, 34 g carbs, zero cholesterol, 4 g of total fat (none saturated), 11 g of fiber, and 9 g of protein, use this soup as a starter, or as a main meal with a salad, and whole-grain sourdough bread.

Note: Skip any added salt, as the miso is salty enough (743 mg). Monitor your salt intake that day, to stay under the recommended daily sodium limit of 2,300 mg (1,500, if you have high blood pressure).

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Creamy Ginger-Lemon Salad Dressing

Homemade asian peanut dressing with black sesame seedsThis light, Asian-influenced dressing gets its creaminess from Greek yogurt, and its tang from the blend of lemon and ginger. It’s an easy, quick, and tasty paring with any mixed greens combo, with just 33 calories, 1 g of carbohydrate, zero cholesterol, 2.5 g of total fat, 2 g of protein, and 2 g of sugar. (And why couldn’t you drizzle it on chicken or seafood as well?!)

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Fruit and Fresh Herb Sparkler

Seltzer Drink with Fresh cut fruitThink of this drink as a bit of bubbly, without the buzz. It’s a “mocktail” that’s perfect for someone on a restricted diet, who may be pregnant, or who just wants something refreshing without alcohol added. Of course you could add sparkling wine, but by using club soda or seltzer instead, even the kids can make a toast! Mix in whatever fruit that you like, and get creative. This sparkler comes in at 35 calories, with only 9 g of carbohydrates, zero cholesterol, zero fat, 20 mg of sodium, and just 6 g of sugar. And it’s the perfect “anytime” alternative to sugary soda. Cheers!

 

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Potato Soup With Chicken and Veggies

Chicken Cream Soup

Nothing warms you up like soup, and this hearty combination of chicken, potatoes, rice, and veggies hits the spot! At just 224 calories per serving, 42 g carbs, 7 mg of cholesterol, 3 g of fat, 6 g of fiber, and 8 g of protein (along with 855 mg of potassium), make it for a weeknight or weekend dinner. You can later spoon up some leftovers (if you’ve got any!) for lunch the next day.

 

 

 

 

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Very Lemony Chicken

IHomemade Lemon and Herb Chickent’s chicken tonight! And lemon is the star ingredient, with all of its citrusy brightness and flavor. You’ll love the simplicity of this dish, to be paired with your choice of vegetables, or maybe a blended rice. (It’s also a match for garden potato salad!) Coming in at a low 154 calories, with 63 mg cholesterol, just 6 g total fat, and 202 mg of sodium, here’s your go-to chicken recipe, anytime.

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Garden Potato Salad

Potato salad with mayonnaise and spring onion, selective focus

Why does potato salad have to be only for picnics? (It doesn’t!) Here’s a lighter-yet-still-tasty version that you’ll love as an anytime side dish — and it’s only 151 calories per one cup serving. This one will please a crowd, be it for potluck or the family table. (It’s also make-ahead fast and stores well.) Delish with only 1 g fat, 2 mg cholesterol, and 118 sodium.

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