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Easy ways to add more nutrients to your child's diet

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer and editor. As a work at home mom she has a unique perspective that encompasses the overwhelming deadlines and commitments of the professional woman as well as the constantly changing needs of a...

Kick up nutrition

Getting kids to eat healthy foods is hard enough during summer vacation, but it can be almost impossible once school starts. Sneak in those important nutrients easily with these tips.
Strawberry smoothie


Slip in a smoothie

1 serving

Smoothies are perfect for breakfast or afternoon snacks. They're full of nutrients, but since they mimic milkshakes, kids love them.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup V8 Fusion Strawberry Banana Juice or Acai Mixed Berry
  • 1/4 cup ice

Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Pulse on high until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a large glass, add a straw and serve.

Juice up the gelatin

Are there kids anywhere who don't like gelatin snacks? Rather than using plain water when you make these wiggly desserts, add important nutrients by substituting juice for an equal amount of water. You can create unique and delicious combinations with pure juice, juice blends and fruit and vegetable juice fusions.

  • Raspberry made with cranberry-raspberry juice
  • Strawberry made with strawberry banana juice
  • Lemon made with orange juice

You can create hundreds of possible combinations -- just keep the color in mind. A green gelatin mixed with red juice will become a very unappetizing gray color, for example.

Sneak in veggies


  • Thinly shredded carrots and zucchini can be added to many baked goods including muffins, cookies, quick breads and cakes.
  • You can also add all kinds of shredded vegetables to spaghetti sauce. The shreds are so thin that they will completely cook down in the time it takes you to warm up the sauce.
  • Add crunch to sandwiches with vegetable shreds instead of lettuce.
  • Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? Slip some extra nutrition into this family favorite by adding chopped tomatoes, finely chopped spinach, steamed broccoli or chopped zucchini.

Nutrient-dense snacks


  • Dried fruits are packed with nutrients, and the drying process concentrates the sugar -- making the fruit taste like candy.
  • Add dried fruit to pancakes, muffins, cookies and other baked goods.
  • Make homemade trail mix with a variety of dried fruit, nuts and sunflower seeds. Keep the mixture in individual-sized snack bags.
trail mix

Healthy candy

Makes 3 dozen

This candy is easy enough for your children to make with a little help from you. A mixture of dried fruit is processed with nuts and rolled into balls. The "candy" will satisfy any sweet tooth without disclosing the intense amount of nutrients it contains.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup dried figs
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons candied ginger
  • 1 cup finely chopped, shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Process the ingredients together in a food processor using a pulsing action until they turn into a smooth paste.
  2. Roll a tablespoonful of the mixture into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
  3. Roll the balls in finely chopped, sweetened coconut.
  4. Allow to air dry on a baking sheet for two to three hours, and then store in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers.

Note: These will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Chime in!

What's your best tip for easily amping up the nutrition in your child's diet? Leave a comment and let us know.

You may also like...

Healthy kids: Back-to-school nutrition basics
10 Healthiest foods your kids need to be eating
5 Fun ways to get kids to eat healthy foods

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