There are many ways to modify meals to make them more nutritious for young children.
The next time you are preparing food for a young child, consider the following strategies for making it a healthier meal:
- Add more vegetables
- Add more fibre
- Reduce meat content (or replace with vegetables or meat alternatives)
- Use healthier fats
- Reduce saturated fats
- Reduce sugar
- Use less salt (or replace salt with herbs)
A healthier lasagne
The following recipe shows how substituting ingredients high in fat, sugar and salt content with healthier ingredients can improve the nutritional quality of a lasagne recipe.
As shown in this image lasagne can be made healthier by making the following changes to traditional recipes:
- Change to lean mince and reduce the amount of mince by over ½
- Add some vegetables such as mushrooms, capsicum and zucchini
- Replace the salt with herbs, this way your lasagna will gain in flavour without the need to add salt
- Change the cheese filling to ricotta cheese (or non-dairy alternative)
- Change to wholemeal lasagne sheets
- Change topping to ½ cup reduced fat cheese (or non-dairy cheese) and wholemeal breadcrumbs
- Use a salt reduced tomato paste
Why not opt for a vegetarian lasagne and replace meat with vegetables, beans, quinoa or meat alternatives (e.g. tofu, tempeh or vegemince)?
Why not replace dairy cheese with silken tofu or a non-dairy cheese with a coconut or soy base such as Bio cheese or Cheezly? Adding béchamel sauce (made with plant-based milk) and nutritional yeast can also provide a dairy-free cheese flavour.
Healthier banana bread
Healthy food swaps
Have a look at the Healthy food swaps guide from the Healthy Eating Advisory Service (Victoria, Australia) for more examples of ways to swap ingredients or meals for healthier alternatives.
- How have you modified a recipe to make it healthier? Share your experiences and/or ideas in the comments section. In the next step we ask you to share examples of your favourite healthy/modified recipes.