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Please share your best healthy recipes for convincing junk food eaters!

743 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  kdmama33
I am hosting playgroup in the next few weeks. I have been trying to convince Mamas that healthy eating can be yummy. So far, I've only been marginally successful. They are used to feeding their kids store bought cupcakes and candy on a daily basis. I think my recipes are TOO healthy for those who are used to really sugary eating.

Does anyone have a knock-em-dead tried and true healthy recipe I could serve? We serve lunch, so a main dish, side, dessert, or beverage...any and all would be great!

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Do you have any restrictions -- no meat, no dairy, no gluten, etc.? It sounds like your playgroupers have no restrictions, but how about you?

We'll help you brainstorm, never fear!
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For dessert it's the perfect season for a good fruit salad. Peaches, nectarines, blueberries, melon, raspberries. You won't need to add sugar just a touch of lemon juice to brighten flavors or if you need some sweetening just add orange juice.

It's also tomato season - fresh tomatoes with fresh mozerella is wonderful. Makes sandwiches with a whole grain baguette.

Beverages could be sparkling water with a touch of fruit juice or Bionature makes great ugh I can't think of the name not juice b/c it has some fruit flesh in it but the apricot one just tastes like someone squeezed a bunch of apricots into a bottle.

As someone who just spent a weekend with ILs who are on an extremely lowfat diet, my recommendation would be not to look for direct substitutes for high fat thing. Ie no vegan mayo to replace regular mayo. Don't make eating healthy seem like a lesser version of eating unhealthy.
I have a great recipe for "healthy"(ish) no-bake cookies. Let me dig it up.

Also, how about something like just roasted chicken for lunch? Roast the chicken, and put some potatoes (small ones whole, or chunks of larger ones) under the chicken while it's roasting. The starch from the potatoes will actually turn the pan drippings into a "gravy" without having to add flour, starch, butter, etc. The gravy will probably convince some of the kids to eat the chicken, and their moms, too, but you'll know it's still healthy. You can roast veggies with it, too -- roast squash and carrots have a mildly sweet flavor, which might help entice those who are hooked on sugar to eat them. Plus, it's an easy meal for you to make while you are trying to prepare for playgroup.

As VK said, perhaps give us some further guidelines or ideas about what you think of as healthy and would like to prepare and serve.
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And if they are used to only eating white bread you could have the whole grain bread warm from the oven. Warm bread is hard to turn down!
but been thinking about this...what ages are the kids? could you do some kind of MYO pizza bar, burrito bar, baked potato bar, MYO subs, etc.? or maybe a big pot of chili or tortilla soup w/asstd toppers, like cheese, tortillas, sour cream, guac, salsa, and so on. fun food is good food even if it's healthy. and that way you can have meat for the carnivores, cheese for those who like it, and so on.

i think fruit salad is a good dessert too -- we do honey, yogurt and vanilla for a dressing. or maybe smoothies w/yogurt and lots of fruit.

Thanks for all the great ideas!

Let me see if I can answer your questions....

The kids are 18-28 months....

I try not to eat trans fat, white flour, too many starches, high fructose corn syrup, the usual...and I don't let dd have chocolate yet..holding out until 2. I buy mostly organic and try not to use canned soups, etc.

I've done fruit salads everytime so far and everyone eats it up but then looks around at the end of the meal for an ooey, gooey dessert. I tried serving strawberry/banana "ice cream" from Cathe's book, but the kids wouldn't touch it!?!

I love your ideas! I am going to use them all...but I am going to wait for it to get a little cooler to roast chicken b/c our a/c isn't that great and it's gets HOT during the day worse if I use the oven.

I have thought about doing the pizza bar thing, but haven't figured out how to do individual pizza crusts that have no trans fats...any ideas?

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
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What about using whole wheat tortillas as the pizza crusts. We do those for dd all the time. Then she decorates it how she wants it. Huge hit!
Oh, sometimes we use whole wheat pita bread too. It makes it a little thicker and crunchier.
One more thing, LOL. Have you ever made ziploc bag ice cream. You could use organic stuff and make it a little healthier. I don't have the exact recipe, but I'll google it, it's really easy and the kids love it. I got this from in mamas kitchen . com


1/2 cup half and half (milk may be used in a pinch)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups crushed Ice
4 tablespoons salt
2 quart size zipper-seal bags 1 gallon size zipper-seal freezer bag


Mix the cream (or milk), vanilla and sugar together in one of the quart size bags. Seal tightly, allowing as little air to remain in the baggie as possible. Too much air left inside may force the baggie open during shaking.

Close and place this bag inside the other quart-size baggie, again leaving as little air inside as possible and sealing well. By double-bagging, you minimize the risk of salt and ice leaking into the ice cream and making an inedible mess.

Now put the two baggies inside the gallon size bag and fill the bag with ice, then generously sprinkle salt on top. Again let all the air escape and seal the bag. Wrap the bag in a towel or put gloves on (because the ice-salt mixture gets blasted cold) and shake and massage the bag, making sure the ice surrounds the cream mixture. Five to eight minutes is adequate time for the mixture to freeze into ice cream.

Use freezer baggies when possible because they are thicker and less likely to develop small holes, allowing leakage. You can get probably get by with using regular zipper-seal bags for the smaller quart sizes, because you are double-bagging.

Makes 1 serving.
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Originally Posted by leomom

I have thought about doing the pizza bar thing, but haven't figured out how to do individual pizza crusts that have no trans fats...any ideas?
Make your own! I know there are some great pizza dough recipes on here if you search (I'm thinking Xenabyte's "Good Eats with Wheat" thread). You can make 'em with whole-wheat flour (or, if I were you, I would do half whole wheat, half white). It's super easy if you ahve a bread machine to do the kneading, but still easy otherwise.

For dessert, what about the avocado pudding? I make it with equal parts avocado and very ripe banana, a T or two of honey, and cocoa powder. That's it! Blend it up with a hand blender until it's nice and smooth. Don't tell them what it is until afterwards! or ever. Just call it "chocolate-banana pudding."

Let us know what you end up doing.
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Originally Posted by kdmama33
I have a great recipe for "healthy"(ish) no-bake cookies. Let me dig it up.

: Yum, I'll be waiting for that one
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I suggest the great eats with wheats thread. The sin cookies, banana bread and whole wheat pizza dough rocks!
Along the same lines you could do a taco bar with either whole wheat tortillas or traditionally made corn ones. The traditional corn ones are made with lye I think that provides extra calcium. And then you could have all sorts of fun things to stuff them with.
Okay, here's the healthy-ish no-bake cookie recipe. You can add other things like hemp seeds, chia seeds, etc., if you happen to have those around, too. I typed the recipe as it was given to me, then added my own substitutions and such in parenthesis.

6 tablespoons whole milk (Non-homogenized, if you can get it.)
1/3 cup sugar (I use Rapadura or substitute xylitol.)
1 + Tbsp cocoa powder (Just depends on how much of a chocolate taste you want. A tablespoon will be plenty chocolatey.)
3 tsps vanilla
2/3 cup peanut butter (I've recently tried subbing homemade almond butter to good effect. Unsweetened nut butter is best, if you're looking to reduce sugar intake.)
3 tsps ground flax seed (I have used up to 1/4 cup of flax seed, and I've put it in whole, too.)
2 cups oatmeal

Combine milk, cocoa, and sugar in a pan over high heat. Heat until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter, stirring until peanut butter is melted. Add flax seeds and oatmeal and stir until well combined.

Drop by spoonfulls onto wax paper and refridgerate until firm. (Or, eat it right out of the pan, if you prefer. Not that we've ever done that around here or anything.
) Makes between 12 and 24 cookies, depending on size of each cookie. (Closer to 15 or so, when I make them.)

No one ever believes these are "healthy" when I make them. And everyone eats them right up!
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