Easy, Healthy Recipes for Kids and Teens
Here are flavoring ideas for embellishing freshly made popcorn. These recipes make enough to flavor a 10-cup batch (from about 1/2 cup kernels). If you air-pop or use fat-free microwave popcorn, you might like to drizzle 2 tablespoons or so of melted Earth Balance or coconut oil into the popcorn just before adding the seasonings. My favorite way to pop corn is in an Old Fashioned Popcorn Popper like the one made by Jacob Bromwell. Very low-tech, but it seems to bring out the best flavor from the popcorn. I like to start with 2 tablespoons or so safflower or organic virgin coconut oil per 1/2 cup of kernels. more→
The magic in these vegan muffins is that they use no eggs or dairy, but rather incorporate a great healthy baking technique—using applesauce as a binding and fat substitute. It makes the muffins amazingly moist while greatly reducing the need for added fat. Kids love muffins, and by using wholesome ingredients, they become a great substitute for sandwiches for school lunches, as well as serving as any time snacks. more→
This vegan parfait recipe is so simple that it’s almost not a recipe at all! Layering nondairy yogurts with seasonal fruits takes almost no effort, creating a treat that looks as appealing as it tastes. It’s a real pleaser, as welcome for breakfast as well as desserts, and a good way to get kids (or the generally finicky) to eat more fruit.
There’s just something about salads that — there’s no other way to say it — many kids don’t particularly enjoy. I found that combining small amounts of raw vegetables with starchy comfort foods like pasta, bread, or potatoes, or adding fresh or dried fruit, helped to entice my kids and their friends to give salads a try. As far as tossed green salads, the best way I found to entice them was to offer a very simple homemade Thousand Island dressing with it. more→
There’s just something comforting and kid-friendly about melted cheese. If the kids in question are vegan or lactose-intolerant, or, if you’re just trying to cut back on dairy based foods, there are many wonderful options these days. Here are just a few:
Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet is soy-based and comes in cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and nacho- style blocks; for recipes that call for grated cheese, the grating is Do-It-Yourself, and you can do so in a food processor or by hand. more→
If you’re feeding teenagers, especially the male variety, you know that they go through mountains of food, and your grocery bill mounts alarmingly. Here are a handful of hearty, filling dishes that won’t break the bank. Now I’m not saying that young women won’t like these hearty dishes, but in my experience, at least, they don’t eat in nearly the quantity of their male counterparts. more→
Here is a sampling of easy fruit preparations that are a bit more exciting than plain fruit on a plate. For another nifty idea for using fruit, see Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits. And make sure to explore the entire Veg Kids and Teens page on VegKitchen for lots of easy, healthy recipes for vegetarian and vegan kids and teens. Recipes in this post adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook.
The perfect thing to make after you’ve gone apple-picking or to celebrate the first crop of apples at local farmers’ markets. Please, use organic apples!
Serves: 4 to 6
- 6 to 8 large sweet cooking apples, such as Cortland or Rome,
peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 2 tablespoons natural granulated sugar, agave nectar,
or maple syrup, or to taste
- Cinnamon to taste
Combine the apples and juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Add sugar and cinnamon to taste, and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Young children often balk at dishes in which ingredients are “touching.” However, I served this often when my sons were younger and had friends visiting. I found that if kids decide for themselves what’s touching what, they don’t seem to mind a mixed dish. In fact, most kids loved creating patterns in their yogurt with the other items, and often asked for seconds.
Serves: 4 to 6
- 1 to 2 medium bananas, sliced
- 1 cup (about half of one 16-ounce can) unsweetened pineapple tidbits, drained
- 1 large pear, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup small seedless grapes
- 1/2 cup dark or golden raisins or dried cranberries)
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional
- 1 cup granola, optional
- 2 to 3 cups vanilla soy yogurt
Place all the ingredients except the yogurt into separate, small bowls.
Divide the yogurt among 4 to 6 individual serving bowls. Let everyone take a little of whichever ingredients they’d like to dress up their ambrosia.
CLASSIC STRAWBERRY OR BLUEBERRY-BANANA SMOOTHIE
If you’re looking for just one fruit smoothie combo to fall in love with, this strawberry and banana is a classic for good reason! It’s a good way to start the day
Makes: Two 12-ounce smoothies or three 8-ounce smoothies
- 1 large banana (freeze banana ahead of time
during warm weather for a refreshing effect)
- 1 heaping cup sweet strawberries, hulled,
or 1 cup blueberres (use frozen off season)
- 1/2 cup vanilla almond, rice, or other nondairy milk
- 1/2 cup orange, mango, or berry juice
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, optional
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smoothly pureed. For a thinner smoothie or more servings, add more nondairy milk or juice. Serve at once.
Cooking with the participation of my children and their friends, when they were young, was always an instant spirit-lifter for all. I found this activity particularly successful when my they and their friends were between the ages of 5 and 8, when hand-eye coordination is excellent and the willingness to do adult-supervised activity is still a plus. more→