A constant battle I face as a mom (to kids who are very scant and picky eaters) is what to make for dinner. They love their fruits and even some veggies, but they won’t touch a lasagna, taco, salad, soup, or anything mixed up for that matter with a 10 foot pole. When we serve meals like pasta dishes or rice and veggies they end up eating about nothing and asking for a snack before bed. We try and will keep trying to get them to like these meals but on the weekends it’s nice to have a break and give them some food they love (i.e. chicken, fries, etc.). I’ve heard these kinds of meals referred to as the “400 degree special”. One mom blogger I read wrote something about how she’d let her kids throw anything frozen on a pan and bake everyone’s at 400 degrees… burritos, pizza rolls, fries, etc.
As someone who tries to eat very clean (and worked at a health food store in college), I never thought I’d be a mom to let my child eat french fries or fried chicken at home for dinner! But after having kids you learn that sometimes you do need to give in (albeit not every day). To ease my mind and try to help our kids get slightly healthier versions of these frozen favorites, I have some tips for making them healthier.
French Fries: the best tip to make these healthier is to spend an evening once a month chopping potatoes and putting them in Ziploc bags to freeze. Just toss them in a bag with a little bit of olive oil and some salt, then seal tightly and freeze for up to a month.
If you have to buy from the store, make sure you read the labels. Buy french fries without additives especially hydrogenated oils (which are linked to colon cancer).Fried Chicken: make sure when buying these to avoid patties, nuggets, and anything that contains random parts of chicken meat mashed together. Try to buy all breast meat chicken.
My kids don’t like hamburgers but they do like hot dogs. I always buy Hebrew National kosher all-beef hot dogs. They don’t contain corn syrup or mechanically separated meats like lots of hot dogs, but they do contain nitrites which are still harmful and linked to cancer. Eat hot dogs sparingly, but when you do choose a good quality hot dog!
Also, my last trick for “unhealthy food night” at our house is green juice. We love making green smoothies for breakfast, but at dinner this Naked juice comes in handy. It’s full of fruits, vegetables, and nutrients. Also it’s sweet so my kids LOVE it. They will drink a huge 64 oz bottle in 2 days! (Also the cheapest place to find this is Costco! It’s $2 cheaper than Wal-Mart and $3 cheaper than Target.) Add this to your kids’ meals and you can feel a tad healthier on those lazy dinner nights.