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Sunday, June 23, 2024
Sunday June 23, 2024
Sunday June 23, 2024

Top 10 healthy meals for kids: Expert tips from dietitian Tai Ibitoye

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Dietitian Tai Ibitoye shares her favourite nutritious and delicious meal ideas to keep your kids healthy and happy

Registered dietitian Tai Ibitoye offers a selection of healthy and tasty meal ideas for kids. Emphasizing the importance of a balanced diet from the age of five, Ibitoye provides recipes that ensure children receive essential nutrients for growth and overall health. These meals include starchy carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and dairy or dairy alternatives. Here are her top 10 kid-friendly dishes.

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1. Pitta Pocket

Tai Ibitoye recommends quick and easy pitta pockets made with chicken, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Chicken provides essential protein for growth and body maintenance, while cucumbers and tomatoes contribute to the five-a-day intake. Wholemeal pitta offers energy and fibre, crucial for a healthy gut.

2. Hidden Veg Ragu

For kids who resist vegetables, try hidden veg ragu. This dish combines celery, carrots, and tomatoes with pork and beef mince, creating a flavorful meal where the vegetables are disguised. Ibitoye also suggests other hidden veg recipes to boost veggie intake.

3. Budget Porridge

Breakfast sets the tone for the day, and budget porridge is an excellent choice. Loaded with fibre-rich oats, grated apples, raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon, this porridge is both nutritious and budget-friendly. Research indicates that children who eat breakfast concentrate better throughout the morning.

4. Macaroni Cheese with Veg

Macaroni cheese with added spinach and cherry tomatoes is a family favourite. Cheese provides calcium, protein, and vitamin A, essential for young children. For those with dairy restrictions, consider dairy-free cheese alternatives.

5. Salmon Egg-Fried Rice

Salmon egg-fried rice is a hit with kids. Salmon is rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which support bone and teeth health, muscle function, and a strong immune system. Omega-3s also contribute to heart health.

6. Chicken Stir-Fry

Chicken stir-fry with colourful vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and snap peas provides a well-rounded meal. The chicken offers protein, while the vegetables supply vitamins and minerals. Serve with brown rice or wholegrain noodles for added fibre.

7. Veggie Quesadilla

Veggie quesadillas, filled with beans, corn, and cheese, make a nutritious and fun meal. Beans are an excellent source of protein and fibre, while cheese offers calcium. Use wholegrain tortillas to increase the fibre content.

8. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

For a healthy twist on fries, try baked sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and fibre. Baking instead of frying reduces unhealthy fats, making them a nutritious alternative to regular fries.

9. Turkey Meatballs

Turkey meatballs with a side of wholegrain spaghetti and marinara sauce are a protein-packed meal. Turkey is a lean protein, and wholegrain spaghetti adds fibre. The marinara sauce provides an extra serving of vegetables.

10. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

For a refreshing dessert or snack, fruit and yoghurt parfaits are perfect. Layer Greek yoghurt with mixed berries, granola, and a drizzle of honey. This treat is high in protein, calcium, and antioxidants from the berries.

These meal ideas from Tai Ibitoye ensure that children receive a variety of nutrients necessary for their development and health. Incorporating these dishes into your child’s diet can help establish healthy eating habits that last a lifetime.

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