10 Favorite Pinterest Recipes for Healthier, Happier Kids

For reasons beyond the scope of this blog post, my husband and I have decided to radically change the way our family eats. Let me try to paint you a word picture that adequately describes the change:

We were raised on butter and sweat tea.

Literally. The women on both sides of my family are serious southern cooks. And friend, you'll never feel the same way about plain old green beens after you've had them cooked with a stick of butter and bacon fat. Never. You'll turn up your pug little nose to regular, tasteless, green beans every time. Promise. It's just a cross you'll have to bear, but let's move on...

I've seen two CUPS or more of sugar added to tea (and STILL heard grumbling that it wasn't sweet enough). Are you getting a picture? THIS is how I was taught to cook. And it's what I've fed my children for most of their lives with little attempt to healthify anything.

All that's changing.

I've literally been cooking and mixing and stirring all weekend in an attempt to stock my freezer and fridge with healthier things for us to eat all next week. This homeschooling, WAHM just needs less to think about during the week when real life is happening all around me. And I want to begin feeding my family (myself included) foods that will help us mind and body, instead of slowly destroying us.

So with that in mind, here are a few of my favorite finds from a week of searching for healthier recipes on Pinterest. Please note this distinction though: I'm not putting my family on a diet. We're not trying to lose weight with these recipes, although that may be a natural outgrowth of our choices. Rather, I'm trying to make drastic, long-term changes to our diet that will affect our behavior, emotions, and overall health.

10 recipes for healthier, happier kids

10 Favorite Pinterest Recipes for Healthier, Happier Kids

1. Fruit, Nut, or Berry (or whatever you want them to be) Whole-Wheat Muffins -  from 100 Days of Real Food

My boys love muffins, and these are pretty good. They don't have that sickly-sweet Walmart sugar muffin taste my boys love so much, but neither do they taste super whole-wheaty (don't you love my made- up words?). I added just a pinch of organic sugar to the top of the batter when I baked them, and I was really happy with the results. Once my boys have embraced the transition I'll probably leave out the organic sugar.

2. Whole-Wheat Banana Pancakes (freeze the leftovers!) -   also from 100 Days of Real Food

These smell like a little piece of heaven. I had dogs circling me in the kitchen the whole time I was cooking them. Note: I've tried several different "healthy" pancake recipes and I've had trouble with every single one of them sticking more than normal pancakes. I have no clue why, but it does seem to help to let the batter rest a few minutes before cooking them.

3. Ranch Dressing Mix - from Creations by Kara

My boys will eat most any veggie I give them if it's dipped in ranch dressing, so I wanted to learn more about controlling the ingredients going into their bodies along with good veggies. This recipe makes the most delicious ranch dip/dressing I've ever tasted.

4. Lemon Chicken Pasta - from Framed Cooks

A light, incredibly easy recipe that will get you a standing ovation from your family. Next time I cook it, I'm going to try removing the butter completely and just use some type of oil. If you have a suggestion for the right kind of healthy oil, I would love to hear about it in the comments.

5. Tasty Smoothies - again from 100 Days of Real Food (really...go check out that site)

I actually made my first smoothie the other day based on reading hundreds of posts and articles on the subject, but this recipe most closely matched what I threw in mine. So good. And so refreshing. Each Thursday my sons take fiddle lessons in Lewisburg, WV. That's TWO hours away from where we live. After lessons they're often hungry, and if they've done a great job I like to reward them. But I knew we needed to move away from cookies and ice cream. So we decided to try a local coffee shop that we heard made a heck of a low-sugar smoothie. The boys enjoyed it, and mama felt good about what was going in their bodies. Win-win.

6. Energy Bars for the Weary Mom (my recipe...kind of...)

I just found out that Crystal Paine, of Money Saving Mom, took this recipe and healthified it even more. You can check out her recipe here (thanks Crystal!) My little guy has a mild allergy to peanut butter, so her recipe won't work for our family, but it sure looks yummy! Even my husband, who doesn't like all of the ingredients individually, enjoys them together.

7. Five Easy Iced Coffee Recipes (from 24saltlake.com)

It might seem crazy to let little boys have coffee with their breakfast, but my boys wake up running, spinning, knocking things over, squealing, and running (did I already say that?) I read somewhere that giving them a little caffeine at the beginning of the day can actually help them focus more. We've always tried to keep them the dickens away from caffeine, but decided it was worth a try. So far, so good. We sweeten it with local honey (a bonus effect for their seasonal allergies) and give them about 1/3 of a mug of hot coffee in the morning. It makes them feel all big for their britches and they slurp it right down. When it gets really hot outside, we'll pair up the pancakes above with a glass of iced coffee instead.

8. Sesame Chicken (from slenderkitchen.com)

This is another one of those recipes your family will stand up and clap for. We tend to eat a lot of beef, and don't care for fish or pork (well, I don't...my husband would die for a good pork chop) so chicken recipes are always welcome in our house. I'm not sure yet about all the oils used in it (I'm still studying up on all those), but it is delicious. Period. Make it.

9. Toddler Muffins (from allrecipes.com)

These yummy little muffins are meant to stuff your picky little eater full of all kinds of goodness without him or her knowing it. Sneaky, I know. But this 35 year old mama loves them too, and they freeze up like a charm. The only thing I might have to change is using baby food squash. I need to check the label to make sure there's no red or yellow die in it (another thing we're trying to get rid of around here). If there is, we'll have to do something different.

10. 100% Fruit Roll-ups (from loveumadly.com)

I have to confess that we haven't tried these babies yet. But I've been drooling over them on my Pinterest Recipes Board for some time now, so it's only a matter of time. I used to love fruit roll-ups when I was a kid. So much so that my mom never bought them. Why you ask? Because I could literally sit down and consume the whole box...that's how much I loved them. Horrible for you out of the box, wonderful from this recipe. Who needs all that sugar?

There you have it friends! My little round-up of fabulous healthy Pinterest finds. Enjoy!

P.S. I would love to see your favorites! Link them up in the comments?

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