No Need to Give up Pizza and Burgers: How to Make Junk Food Much Healthier for Your Kids while Minimizing Health Risks

Junk food has its merits. You can fix supper almost instantly without the need to cook when you come back home tired after a full day’s work. In addition, kids love it. You won’t find yourself arguing about who ate and how much. However, as we all know, junk food is extremely unhealthy and you do not want your children to eat too much of it. The good news is that there are ways to enjoy fast junk food without risking your children’s health.

Burgers can be highly nutritious

A burger made of high-quality beef and veggie burger made of mushrooms or tofu are highly nutritious. Beef and tofu contain plenty of protein. Beef is rich in iron your children’s body requires.

The main problem lies in the bun and sauces.  To maximize health benefit, it is strongly recommended eating a whole wheat bun. To save calories, you should make home-made sauces, such as sun-dried tomato spread instead of ketchup or home-made garlic paste instead of mayonnaise. If you replace pickles with fresh cucumbers, your children will benefit from a fine dose of vitamins and minerals.

Healthier French fries

French fries made of sweet potatoes are much healthier. Sweet potatoes contain plenty of dietary fiber which makes sure blood sugar levels after digestion remain low compared to regular potatoes. In addition, the orange color of sweet potatoes indicates that they are rich in beta carotene our body uses to produce the much needed vitamin A.

To save calories, instead of frying in oil, put your sliced potatoes in the oven with a little olive oil and you will get baked chips. Your kids may love them even more.

Pizza made of high-quality ingredients

Your pizza dough should be made of whole wheat or rye. Cheese contains fat but it also rich in calcium and protein, so it has nutritional benefits.

You had rather make your own tomato paste as the one you buy in the store contains plenty of sugar. Lastly, by adding healthy herbs to the pizza (basil, for example), your children will enjoy a variety of flavors and some vital vitamins and minerals.

Hummus and falafel – two healthy fast foods from the Middle East

Hummus, the well-known Levantine dip, is made of chickpeas, which are easy to digest. Chickpeas are rich in soluble fiber, B vitamins, such as folic acid, and vitamin C. Hummus is also a good source of protein (17-23%) calcium, magnesium and potassium, and it contains twice the amount of iron compared to other pulses. One dish of hummus will provide you with only 200 – 300 calories, which is not much.  The main advantages of hummus, apart from being tasty, is that it makes you feel sated for a long time with a relatively small number of calories.

Falafel is originated in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. Kids love it thanks to is unique taste and crispiness. Falafel is considered a healthy food. As it also made of chickpeas, it is rich in protein, calcium and iron. 100 grams (3.527 oz) contain 270 calories and if baked in the oven and not fried in oil, it is much less fattening and still fun to eat.

Two basic rules you should apply to your children when eating junk food

These 2 basic rules will make every junk food your children eat less harmful and much healthier.

1) Include healthy supplements in your child’s meals – adding salad, steamed vegetables or even vegetable soup to every meal, especially one that consists of junk food,  will make it healthier thanks to the nutritional fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals they contain. You can explain to your kid that if she wants a burger or pizza, she must also eat vegetables.

2) Your children should eat only when they sit at a table – Research has shown that quick eating will interfere with achieving a sense of satiety and make us want to eat more. That is why, make sure your children eat at fixed hours while sitting at the table.