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Kid-Friendly Recipes with Dr. Tanda Kidd

Encourage healthy eating habits through creativity and exploration

The best way to encourage children to develop healthy eating habits is to focus on creativity and exploration in the kitchen. Healthy cooking does not have to be fussy or complicated. 

This was the advice we received from the incredible Dr. Tanda Kidd, Department Head of the K-State Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health. Much of her research focuses on childhood obesity prevention and health-promoting behaviors in children and adolescents. 

Elementary-aged kids tend to be picky eaters, but this age group is also more willing than teens to get in the kitchen with their parents. "This is a great time to reinforce nutrition messages, and for kids to explore with recipes and try new food items," says Dr. Kidd.

This is also a great age to show kids that they can put a little effort into food preparation, rather than expecting that food always comes fully prepared. 

Dr. Kidd provided us with some simple, healthy recipes that we hope you'll try with your kids. We hope you'll even consider experimenting with a new ingredient or two. Tailor these recipes to your dietary needs and tastes. Vegetarian? Omit the meat. Dislike mushrooms? Swap in a veggie or try out a new-to-you mushroom from the Farmers' Market. Have fun and happy eatin'!

E-Z Pizza

Makes 8 servings on a 12-inch crust

Ingredients:

  • ½ jar (7 ounces) of pizza sauce
  • 1 pre-made 12-inch thin pizza crust (Editor's note: If you would like to make your own sauce and crust, I recommend this recipe: minimalistbaker.com/the-best-gluten-free-pizza-crust-sauce)
  • ½ cup chopped green pepper
  • ½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • ¼ cup chopped or sliced onions
  • 15 slices of turkey pepperoni
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Spread sauce evenly over unbaked pizza crust.
  3. Layer green pepper, mushrooms, onions, and turkey pepperoni evenly over the sauce.
  4. Cover with shredded cheese.
  5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned.
  6. Enjoy!

It's a Wrap!

Makes 1 wrap (2 halves)

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • Optional: Hummus, mustard, or low-fat ranch salad dressing
  • Fresh bib lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 piece each lean ham and turkey, sliced thin
  • 1 cheddar cheese slice
  • Sliced red or yellow peppers
  • Shredded carrot sticks

Directions:

  1. Optional: Spread tortilla with hummus, mustard, or low-fat ranch.
  2. Layer wrap with meat, cheese, and lettuce.
  3. Add peppers and carrot sticks.
  4. Roll up wrap and cut in two.
  5. Enjoy!

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