Approx 783 words. 3.5 mins to read.

How does the saying go? If you do something enough times it becomes a habit. I believe there’s an ounce of truth in there somewhere – especially when it comes to teaching children the importance of healthy eating. Check out my top tips and recipes to make eating well with the kids a breeze –without making a dent in your wallet!

Make a habit of it

There are plenty of ways you can encourage children to form good habits in the kitchen, and eating wholesome, nutritious foods where possible is a good place to start. Introduce little ones to a range of fruit and veg from a young age to make these foods familiar and accessible. Replace sugary snacks with a piece of fruit to avoid energy spikes (and crashes!) and try to incorporate one or more portions of veg into every meal. Simple swaps such as these will encourage them to make better choices as they grow – hopefully, without even realising it!

Make it fun

Good food choices shouldn’t be a chore. Not when there’s such a broad and exciting range of nutritious ingredients out there! Whizz veggies into sauces for a seamless way to increase kids’ veg intake; have a go at blitzing frozen bananas for a healthier spin on ice cream; or even try adding vegetables to bakes. Think outside the box and get creative!

Make it easy

If you want healthy meals to be a regular occurrence, the key is to keep things simple.  Choose recipes that don’t take too long and that only require a handful of ingredients (I’d recommend no more than 10 each). You don’t want children to lose interest half-way through! These should be meals they’ll want to help make (and eat) again and again.

Check out some of my top Co-op recipe recommendations that little ones can get involved with, too. They’re all nutritious, straightforward and budget-friendly, so kids and adults alike will love them!

6 healthy & budget-friendly recipes that kids will love

1. Lemony leek and chick pea salad

Crack open a tin of chick peas and make this fluffy couscous salad for kids’ lunchboxes. It’s delicious topped with a dollop of creamy houmous for a light lunch. Or, serve with a little grilled meat or fish for a satisfying dinner. 

Little helpers: Ask the children to fluff up the couscous with a fork before stirring through the olive oil and lemon juice.

2. One-pot chicken & spring greens

A one-pot works wonders when you’re in need of a low-fuss dinner – and can’t be bothered with the washing-up! Try this chicken and spring greens recipe: it’s bursting with veg and makes use of thrifty chicken drumsticks and thighs.

Little helpers: Ask the kids to gather all the ingredients so you can put them into the pot in order. They can also master the mixing!

3. BLT fusilli salad

One of the nation’s favourite sandwiches – a BLT – reimagined as a fun (and speedy) pasta salad.

Little helpers: Get the kids involved by mixing the dressing. They’ll also have fun tossing all the salad ingredients together.

4. Leek & pepper curry

If you’re struggling to get your kids to eat their daily veg, this vegetable curry will be your new best friend. One serving contains two of your 5 a day, is low in saturated fat and calls for a couple of quick fixes (such as Co-op Microwave Basmati Rice) to keep the cooking time to a minimum. Result! Serve with dairy free coconut yogurt to keep it vegan, or opt for natural yogurt, if you prefer.

Little helpers: The kids can stir the flaked almonds through the rice and sprinkle over the coriander at the end. The final touches are what makes this meal so impressive! 

5. Cauliflower pilaf traybake

Children won’t be able to make the excuse that veg are boring when you place this spiced cauliflower dish in front of them! All you need are five ingredients: cauliflower, curry paste, rice, almonds and coriander. That’s it!

Little helpers: Children can help make the curry paste dressing to coat the cauliflower. If you don’t have a brush, the kids can use their hands instead – just as long as they’re clean!

6. Garlic cannellini bean spaghetti with courgette

This veggie pasta dish features a thrifty sauce made by blitzing cannellini beans, lemon juice, roasted garlic and stock. It’s pretty game-changing and makes use of ingredients you’re likely to have in your storecupboard and freezer.

Little helpers: Ask the children to mix together the sauce, courgette and a little pasta water at the end.  

The portion sizes and nutrition for these recipes are designed for adults, so parents will need to amend portion sizes as required for children.

Aoife McKernan
Co-op diet and health manager

Other food inspiration you might like:

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. These all look SO delicious. ^Cress

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  2. Mega Yummmm 😜 🙋‍♀️ ^Cress

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  3. The lemon and chick pea salad looks delicious 🤤

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. These sound yummy. Greay to see the promotion of real food. I reckon I’ll try these recipes. No kids so can I play with the ingredients?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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#TheCoopWay, Food