Monday, 9 December 2013

Momma Monday: 10 Worst Dinners to Feed Your Kids

We've all done it. Lost track of time or don't have enough time to slave away at a hot stove for 2 hours and prepare a decent healthy meal to fill that rumbling in our children's bellies. We opt out for the quick fix of fast food, microwavable dinners, or hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza, and french fries. Little did we know that those foods can be so bad for our kids and have a huge helping hand in children obesity. Here are 10 foods we really should avoid feeding our children, and alternatives to still being able to enjoy them, just at a healthier level.

1. Fried Chicken
My kids love fried crispy chicken, and the dipping sauce that goes along with it. It's popular and they convince you as a parent that when its cooked at high heats its preventing oil being absorbed into the chicken. WRONG. Its absorbed into the breading and our kids still eat the skin. Avoid the deep-fried chicken and side gravy, go for the baked every time.

2. Hotdogs
Another love of my children. Probably primarily of the fact they can eat with there hands and not get into trouble :P But hot dogs have high levels of nitrates which is a preservative to help it not to go bad. All cured meats contain nitrates, so even if you feed them lunch meat, it could still be bad for them. Try meats that aren't precooked, and free of preservatives :)

3. Delivery Pizza
Probably one of the worst things you could eat. Full of fat, calories, and unless you get vegetables on it, you aren't getting any protein either. Make your own pizza. It's that simple. Use pita bread, make your own  Homemade Spinach Pizza Dough , or english muffins as the crust. Let your kids make their own masterpiece with a light sprinkle of cheese. This will cut calories and fat in less than half if you order in pizza. Try to even sneak vegetables into the mix like peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

4. Fast Food
This is by far the most unhealthy choice for a meal. I know my kids see the golden arches of mcdonalds or the big KFC bucket and whine to have it for dinner. Almost every combo, even the kids meals unfortunately, are high in calories, fat, and sodium. You think oh, apple slices instead of fries? yah, healthy, but the dip is still loaded full of sugar. Opt out for making a slow cooker meal if you know or think your going to be running late from work. Prepare it the night before, turn the cooker on in the morning on low, and you'll have dinner prepared by the time you get home!

5. Grilled Cheese
This was my childhood favorite lunch, and has become my children's as well. Made with butter, bread, and processed cheese, yet you can make a healthy alternative believe it or not :) Use whole grain, brown, or rye bread. Instead of processed cheese, use unprocessed and also fill it with cold cuts or sliced chicken breast maybe some lettuce and tomato. And use only a light dab of butter along the outside of the bread. This will cut calories 1/4 of the way down, but it's still better light, than getting rid of your childs favorite meal if its all they'll eat some days.

6. Fettuccine Alfredo
I personally LOVE this dish, it's so delicious, yet wickedly unhealthy. The sauce is packed with fat with the cream, butter, and plenty of cheese that give it its flavor. Any creamy type of sauce is packed with fat and calories, opt out for a traditional hearty tomato sauce with whole wheat pasta instead to raise the fiber content. You can even sneak in vegetables try this Sneaky Spaghetti Sauce.

7. Fish Fingers
My kids hate fish, and I know it can be so so so hard to get children to eat fish. It's a strong flavor, and has a lot of different textures. But most fish fingers these day have little to no fish inside them and way too much breading. Try pan frying mild fish and lightly batter them if you need to. Also, try feeding them halibut. Its very mild and has the same type of texture as say tuna, or chicken.

8. Chicken Nuggets
I've never met a child that doesn't love chicken nuggets. Fun shapes, yummy dips, they can eat with their hands, and there just down right delicious. Nuggets are just made from the cut offs of chicken, not the actual meaty part. So your kids are really eating just the bones, organs, and fat off the chicken. That's actually really disgusting, if not revolting. I've opted out for making my own chicken strips/nuggets with fresh chicken breast, my own home made bread crumbs, and i bake them in the oven. They still come out crispy, tender, and at half the calories AND fat content, it's worth doing it yourself. But if you are out, and want to give them chicken nuggets, go for the chicken tenders. There from the breast meat, and all meat, and watch for the dipping sauces as they can still turn a healthy alternative, into a bad one.

9. Frozen Dinners
SUCH a great way to save time. Out of the freezer, into the microwave, 5 minutes later into the belly of our starving children. Yet did you know they contain double the amount of sodium children should be getting in one day? They should only have 1000-1500 mg a day. Instead of buying frozen dinners, make your own make-ahead-freezer meals :D they are a GODSEND in my household. I take it out in the afternoon, let it thaw, stick it in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes and I have a healthy and delicious home cooked meal without all the mess :)

10. Tuna Casserole
 I love tuna fish. It's a mild taste, and you can put it in any casserole, or dish to play it up. Unfortunately with the excess cheese and butter it becomes indulgent. But you can make it healthy. Make the sauce with skim milk and light cheese. Add in vegetables along with the tuna like broccoli and peppers.

There you have it. Alternatives to the fast food and quick picks to help your children grow up big and strong and healthy :)

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