Why do we need sneaky ways to make junk food healthy? Why can’t we just teach our kids to be healthy, period? Let’s face it. Kids love junk food. Their friends eat it. It’s on the commercials between their favorite shows. Junk food is heavily promoted. That makes them want it even more. Sometimes you just have to give in. That doesn’t mean you can’t tweak your kids junk food into something good for them. Here are five sneaky ways to make junk food healthy for kids. You might even like them yourself.
1. Your kids want ice cream.
Don’t stop at that drive-through. If you do, order small vanilla cones. They’re lower in calories. A better solution? Make this junk food healthier with fruit and nuts. When your kids want ice cream, make it at home. Use one small scoop of all natural ice cream. Fill the rest of the bowl with fruit and a handful of nuts. Skip the chocolate syrup. Blend up some berries for a healthier sauce.
Even better yet? Skip the fatty cream. Make ice milk in a home freezer using coconut milk as a base. It’s surprisingly yummy!
2. Is there a healthy alternative to candy?
Of course. Make this junk food healthy for kids by making it yourself. You and your kids can learn to make fruit leather at home. No dehydrator? That’s OK. You can do it in the oven. Just set it to a low temp. Whirl applesauce and your favorite fruit in the blender. Spread it out on a very lightly oiled pan. Bake until dried, monitoring carefully. Cut into strips. Wrap it up for lunches or shopping trip snacks.
3. Kids love hot chocolate on a winter day.
How do you make this junk food healthy for them? Skip those mixes. Make it yourself. The ingredients are cocoa, sugar and almond milk. That’s it. You can make it healthier by adding antioxidant-rich cinnamon. The other nice thing about making it yourself is that you control the amount and type of sugar. Skip the white refined stuff. Try agave nectar instead. You need less and it’s delicious!
4. Your kids are craving chips and dip.
Oh boy, what an empty calorie fest. How do you make chips and dip healthy for kids? Make your own sweet potato chips at home. Kids love them. Just slice and flash fry. Drain on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Skip the dip. Try salsa instead. If your kids won’t go for that, substitute plain soy yogurt for the sour cream. It’s low-fat, low-cal and full of protein, but rich enough to pass for sour cream. Don’t use a dip mix. They’re full of chemicals. Add your own herbs and spices.
5. How about fast food?
What if you have no choice but to hit the drive through? Most fast food restaurants feature healthy choices for your kids. Don’t ask them what they want. Just order it. Skip the extras. Go for the basics. Choose salad, not fries. If they must have fries, choose the smallest size. Better yet, visit fast food venues that offer healthier, tasty food to begin with.
Portions of this article were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.