Kid-Friendly Recipes

Make Your Store the Go-To Place for Family Meals

Even if you have a small grocery section, you can send the message that your store is a smarter, healthier time saver than a fast-food drive-through.

The main thing to keep in mind for family snacks and meals is speed and ease. In addition to stocking prepackaged foods manufactured for children, some basic staples can be transformed into fun, kid-friendly foods with a little creativity. Savvy retailers can use some of the following ideas from interviewees (who participated in our Kids’ Health Feature) to make flyers and shelf-talkers with simple recipes. They’re bound to make kids happy and parents look to you as a valuable nutritional resource:

* Banana Caterpillars: Layer sliced banana and peanut butter (or nut butter) in a log formation to create a caterpillar, Dockery suggests. Use raisins for eyes.

* Kiddie “Fondu”: “Toddlers and preschoolers like to dip, so an all-finger-food meal can be fun,” suggests Marlow. Cut raw or cooked veggies and whole grain bread into strips or small chunks. Serve with healthy dips like hummus, a vegetable puree or a yogurt-based creamy dip.

* Fruitie Cookies: Cut fruits like apples, pears and melons into quarter-inch thick rounds. Use yogurt for “icing” and crushed raw nuts as “sprinkles.”

* Taco Night: Fill half a wheat tortilla with organic cheese, green peppers and onions. Fold in half and heat in a toaster oven or pan.

* Sweet Potato Fries: Peel a sweet potato and cut into sticks. Toss with olive oil and bake until slightly crispy.

* Healthier Chicken Tenders:  Use flaxseeds in the breading of homemade chicken tenders.

* Purple Potato Eater: Purple potatos and carrots can make fun mashed potatoes.

* Bueno Burrito: Fill whole wheat pits filled with organic cheese, chopped tomatoes, spinach and other veggies.

* Finger Food Supper: Serve only finger foods for dinner like veggie strips with hummus, string cheese, chicken bites, mini turkey burger sliders, and sweet potato fries.

* PB & B: Add sliced bananas to a nut butter sandwich.

* Veggie Mac ‘n Cheese: Add peas or broccoli to maccaroni and cheese.

* Italy Fest: Gluten-free pasta, organic jarred tomato sauce and turkey meatballs can be a hit. Add a small appetizer of mini pizza made with half a whole-grain English muffin, cheese, sauce and veggies.

* Veggie Stir Fry: Saute fresh or frozen veggies and at the end, toss in firm tofu, drained and cut into small chunks, and heat until warm throughout. Add your family’s favorite low-sodium Asian sauce and serve over brown rice.

* Ants on a Log: Take a celery stick, fill with natural peanut butter and top with a few raisins.

* Breakfast Fun: Make whole-grain pancakes and use cookie cutters to cut into shapes. Decorate with berries or raisins.

* Grilled Cheese Dippers: Put two slices of organic American cheese between two slices of whole grain bread. Put in a toaster over and set to dark. Cut into sticks, and serve as dippers with organic tomato soup.

* Candy Carrots: Steam carrots and serve with a drop of maple syrup on them.

Published on WholeFoods Magazine Online, August 25, 2010