Easy Fast Food Recipes Great for Kids & Lazy Moms

K. Emily Bond

fast healthy mealsWhen my son was born, I stocked up on some seriously organic kitchen reading ranging from the Organic Baby and Toddler Cookbook to New Vegetarian Baby and spent hours cooking, prepping, and researching the most optimum foods for my child. Obviously, I'm of the "natural parenting" bent.

Eventually reality set in and I realized that regurgitating nutritional facts at the local food coop was boring and a total time vacuum. I've since streamlined my nutritional goals to three basic tenets:

  1. I don't want him to starve
  2. I don't want him to get fat
  3. I will not resort to bribery or covert vegetable bombs

As such, I have devised four emergency 20 minutes or bust, 7 steps or less, nutrient-rich meals that the whole family enjoys (I think).


Recipe 1: Barley with beets, kale, carrots, and mirin (20 minutes)

Step 1: Cook the barley.

Step 2: Chop up canned beets by hand.

Step 3: Grind up kale and carrots in the greatest kitchen invention since the refrigerator, a Cuisinart.

Step 4: Mix everything together and splatter with mirin.

Why it's delicious: The ground up carrots and kale blend in with the mixture so well you can hardly tell that you're eating 75 percent raw. The mirin, a Japanese cooking wine, adds that sweet touch toddlers love.

Why it's good for them:

  • The barley is chewy and can pass for pasta without the guilt. When it's prepared well, it has the potential to be yummy. Plus the high fiber content keeps everyone regular.
  • The rich purple/crimson color in beets is betacyanin, a powerful cancer-fighting agent.
  • Kale is from the Brassica family. Not your neighbors; instead they are a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts supercharged with health-promoting phytonutrients.


Recipe 2: Spelt crust pizza with kale, tomato sauce, and goat cheese (20 minutes)

Step 1: Go online and find a spelt pizza crust recipe, like this one with yeast and honey or something simple and yeast-free.

Step 2: Bake on its own until you're done with step 3.

Step 3: Grind up kale; consider adding mushrooms and carrots if you need to clean out the fridge.

Step 4: Take out crust, spread on toppings.

Step 5: Stick in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 6: Clean up ... change diaper.

Step 7: Take out of oven, blow wildly, and eat.

Why it's delicious: Because it's pizza.

Why it's good for them:

  • By grinding the kale up into a mossy, grass like consistency, spreading it like mulch over tomato sauce, and "landscaping" with cheese, you're planting a gorgeous garden of optimal nutrition.
  • Also, the spelt flour pizza crust is awesome and flavorful. It's like wheat but because spelt is highly soluble, it's way more nutritious.


Recipe 3: Soba noodles with ground up almonds, chopped up kale, and mushrooms (7 minutes)

Step 1: Boil water.

Step 2: Drop in soba noodles, stir once.

Step 3: Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Drain.

Step 5: Grind up veggies and nuts.

Step 6: Mix with soba and eat.

Why it's delicious: Soba noodles are incredibly fun for toddlers to eat, especially cool or at room temperature.

Why it's good for them:  

  • Soba noodles are made of buckwheat, which is rich in proteins, lipids, amino acids, and other vitamins and minerals.

Recipe 4: Goat's milk shake with bananas, strawberries, bananas, and walnuts (3 minutes ... ideal for the truly lazy)

Step 1: Get out blender.

Step 2: Drop in some walnuts.

Step 3: Blend.

Step 4: Drop in fruit and however much milk you feel like pouring.

Step 5: Blend.

Step 6: Drink.

Why it's delicious: The endless hunger from my first trimester of pregnancy taught me one very important thing: Sometimes it's just easier to drink your food. The same rules apply to feeding children. Plus, fruity!

Why it's good for them:

  • The smoothie is a great way to load up on calories and nutrients without having to think about it.
  • Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, and new research suggests that starting your child on a diet rich in omega-3s now can prevent depression later on.
  • We use goat's milk in our household because it's just as good, if not better, for my son than cow's milk as a source of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2), protein, and potassium.

Image via Lisa Norwood/Flickr

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