Creating meals that kids will eat without complaint can be a difficult, especially when trying to include healthy foods. I usually try to sneak squash, carrots and other vegetables in to rice dishes.
Disguising nutritious foods inside of foods you know your kids will eat is one way to get your kids to at least ingest some vitamins and minerals. But, wouldn’t it be nice to actually introduce your kids to nutrition rather than trick them into eating it?
One ‘Superfood’ your kids probably already like is rice. This nutrient-rich food has no doubt been on your family’s table, and your child’s highchair tray, since he or she could pick up a kernel or two and aim for their mouth.
But, I suspect that as your kids got older, they lost interest in that fluffy white pile of rice on their plate. Taste buds change and mature and now they want something a bit more appealing, and can you blame them? When was the last time you ate a pile of plain white or brown rice? It doesn’t exactly tempt the palate.
Luckily, for you and your kids, there are plenty of easy, fun, and tasty ways to re-introduce your family to the wonders of rice. And, you won’t even have to hide the rice inside another food to get your kids to eat it! Here are a few fun and easy rice ideas to try on your family.
Chicken Pineapple Kabobs Over Rice
You’ll need chicken meat cut into small cubes, pineapple chunks, either fresh or canned in natural juices, a can of natural pineapple juice if you wish, and other vegetables your child may like, such as grape tomatoes. You’ll also need cooked brown or enriched white rice and skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes. The ‘recipe’ is simple. Cook the rice according to package directions, but substitute at least some of the water with pineapple juice.
Preheat your broiler and lightly oil your broiler pan. Alternate the chicken, pineapple, and vegetables on skewers, then brush the kabobs lightly with good olive oil. Broil just until chicken is cooked through, turning at least once during cooking time. Serve the kabobs over a plate of cooked rice. This looks so grown up and tastes super delicious with the sweet pineapple.
Layered Arroz Con Queso With Beans
This dish is made by laying smashed pinto beans (or refried beans) in the bottom of a shallow casserole dish, then topping with a layer of cooked brown or white rice, and then spreading a layer of low fat cottage cheese over, and finally sprinkling a layer of shredded low fat Cheddar cheese or a mixture of cheese on top.
Cover the baking dish and put in the oven just until mixture is hot and bubbly. Remove from the oven and uncover the dish, then let stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving. This dish is a cross between mac and cheese and nachos. What’s not to love?
Rice Crust Pizza Time
For this recipe you’ll just be making a pizza crust out of rice, then topping it with whatever your kids like, within reason, of course. You’ll need about 3 cups of cooked rice and 1 egg for a 10 inch pizza crust. Cook brown rice or white rice, or a combination. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature.
When rice is cooled, mix a whole egg into the rice, smashing it together with a fork to combine well. Add seasonings if you wish, like oregano and salt. Form the smashed rice into a ball on a work surface and cover it with plastic wrap, then use your hands to press the rice mixture into a flat circle, pizza crust style. Place the crust on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees until browned nicely, about 10 minutes, then remove and let it cool down. While it cools, prepare whatever ingredients you want to top the pizza crust with. Add your toppings and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until all the toppings are nice and hot and any cheese you added has melted. Then remove, let cool slightly, and enjoy.
Most kids started out loving their little piles of rice on their highchair tray. It was fun to play with and even a few kernels found their way to the tummy. Finding super nutritious foods to get your kids to eat just got easier now that you have these simple ways to re-introduce rice into your family’s diet. Give these dishes a try and then see if your kids can come up with a few ideas of their own!