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Meals on the run for kids
October 8, 2018

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With today's busy lifestyle, sometimes the only way out is a fast trip to a fast food establishment and the good news is recently the restaurants are required to list the calories and are offering healthier choices.

Good choices include grilled chicken, fruit and yogurt, salads with low-fat dressing and wheat bread. You want to try to keep away from milk shakes, french fries and dressings with high-fat content. It is fine to order a kid's meal, which usually comes with a toy they enjoy and like to get, but try to substitute things like milk rather than a soft drink and fruit instead of high calorie french fries. If your child must have the less healthy item, then be sure to cut out any unhealthy foods or snack the rest of the day. Moderation is the key word when you are eating out and always consider ordering one portion which are usually large and splitting the meal or not eating the entire meal and taking it home for a little snack later on and remember to order dressings on the side.

(Keep in mind that usually baked, broiled or roasted items are always healthier)

Another suggestion is to end your meal on a sweet note by ordering one or two desserts for the family and sharing them.

If you are going on a trip, it is always good to pack a few snacks and with some pre-planning it can be fun, less expensive and healthier.

Fill a cooler with water, fruits, cheese or uncooked veggies like celery or carrots. Make a trail mix with a combination of dried fruits, nuts and whole grain cereal along with the rest of your snacks.

Hard candy, gummy bears and animal crackers are not messy and something that most kids love and enjoy eating.

Growing bodies require large amount of nutrients and picking the right snacks can help fill in the child's daily needs for energy and nutrition, plus also keep level energy up and over eating at meal time.

Try to have you snacks one or two hours before meal time so that it does not spoil there appetite.

When you have children involved in sports and athletics it is necessary to provide energizing snack, and keep in mind to drink plenty of fluids.

All foods can be part of a healthy diet if eaten in moderate amounts.

Until next month!

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

1 container refrigerated reduced-fat buttermilk biscuits

1 1/2 cups milk

1 package white sauce mix

2 cups cut-up cooked chicken

1 cup frozen assorted vegetables, partially thawed

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

2 cups french fried onions

Preheat oven to 400. Separate biscuits and press into custard cups, pressing up sides to form crust. Whisk milk and sauce mix in medium saucepan. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 1 minute, whisking constantly until thickened. Stir in chicken and vegetables. Spoon abour 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each crust. Place cups on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Top each with cheese and french fried onions. Bake 3 minutes or until golden. To serve, remove from cups and transfer to serving plates.

Pimiento Cheese Snacks

2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

1 jar diced pimientos, drained

2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

24 French bread slices or party bread slices

Preheat broiler. Combine cream cheese and Cheddar cheese in small bowl; mix well. Stir in pimientos, pecans and pepper sauce. Place bread slices on broiler pan or nonstick baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from heat 1-2 minutes or until lightly toasted on both sides. Spread cheese mixture evenly onto bread slices. Broil 1-2 minutes or until cheese mixture is hot and bubbly. Transfer to serving plate.

Muffin Pizza Italiano

1 sandwich-size English muffin, split, toasted

2 tablespoons pizza sauce

8 slices pepperoni

1/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Spread muffin halves with pizza sauce. Top with pepperoni, mushrooms and cheese. Bake in preheated 400 oven for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Decorated Pretzels

1 12-ounce package chocolate or flavored chips

24 pretzel rods

sprinkles, nuts, coconut, cookie crumbs, etc.

Line baking sheet with waxed paper; place cooling rack on top. Place chips in microwavable boil. Microwave on high 1 minute, stir. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Dip one half of pretzel rod in chocolate, sprinkle or roll in toppings. Place on prepared cooling rack; let stand until set. Do not refrigerate.

Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for The Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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