If salty French fries and plain bologna sandwiches are the only foods your little one will eat, we've got a fix for your frustration – spice it up! Herbs and spices are not only healthy alternatives to seasoning with salt, but they're also easy-to-get ingredients that instantly jazz up your favorite recipes (and your picky eater's plate).
And what better time to give it a try than National Herbs and Spices Day (coming up on Sunday)? So celebrate this delicious day and don't let another ham-and-cheese sandwich put a damper on dinnertime! Here are seven kid-friendly recipes that will let you sneak spices into chicken nuggets, burgers, veggies – and even cookies.
Find the 26 top family-friendly restaurants in town. It's in our FREE Best Family Restaurants in Southeast Michigan from A to Z guide. Download it for FREE right now! BONUS: Get a FREE subscription to Metro Parent magazine for more tips and fun.
Perfect for after-school snacking or pre-party munching, these cheese puffs from Family Fun have a hidden kick with each bite! Cayenne – an excellent remedy for the common cold, allergies and muscle and toothaches – adds a subtle hint of heat to these light and airy pepper poppers (yummiest when eaten warm). Bake up a basket or two for any occasion and watch them disappear!
Swap out the beef burgers for The Healthy Beehive's flavorful salmon patties; mixed with the tanginess of dill, it's easy as one, two, flip! This springy green herb is not only a great source of calcium, but it's also been known to help with digestion, insomnia and curing a case of the hic-hic-hiccups. Craving more tang? Spoon up this easy dill sauce from Pillsbury as a condiment – or serve as a chip-dip!
Put a South Asian spin on side dishes with this healthy, vibrant variation on mashed potatoes from Kraft Recipes. The sweet potato, bright orange with beta-carotene, is filled with more vitamins and nutrients than your common Yukon Gold – and the curry serves up tons of flavor while improving your memory (to make these potatoes again!).
These delicious baked tomatoes from All Recipes – stuffed with cheese, breadcrumbs, savory oregano seasoning and tons of bonus antioxidants – taste just like mini pizza bites! Little hands will be grabbing for them at the dinner table (and they won't even taste all the fiber they're getting from this super-spice).
The next time they plead for drive-through nuggets, tell them you've got something better! These kid-favorite bites from paleOMG only take 20 minutes to whip up and tastefully disguise the bright green herb so many picky eaters stick their tongues out at. Cilantro (also known as coriander) is a prime immune-booster jam-packed with iron, fiber and salmonella-battling agents, so you'll never feel bad serving up a plate of these.
Didn't think candy could ever be good for you? Think again. Sweet Savory Planet's candied ginger is a perfect sugary fix for any (health-conscious) sweet tooth! The ginger root, used in many countries as a versatile medicine in addition to a spice, is great in teas or as rubs for flu prevention and motion sickness remedies. Plus, your kitchen helper will have a blast crystallizing these sweet snacks. (Want a chewier version? Grab a candy thermometer to try eHow's ginger taffy.)
From spaghetti sauce to roasted potatoes to cookies, where will rosemary go next? To these delicious little cookies from Martha Stewart, of course! Sweet and nutty yet filled with antioxidants and this savory and anti-inflammatory herb, these spiced cookies will turn little eaters into spice-aficionados without them even knowing.