Healthy Hacks: 3 Delicious Recipes to Replace Junk Food Favorites
Children rarely choose the snacks we want them to crave. Once they’ve tasted junk food or been exposed to fast-food fare, it’s difficult to lure them away from the dark side. With that in mind, we’ve assembled a few recipes to help you introduce similar foods that are tastier and better for them.
Fries, Pop-Tarts, and Jam--for the Pop-Tarts and Your Toast
Everyone loves fries, especially kids. For a healthier version of the fast-food favorite, we’ve turned to Food Network.
Then there are Pop-Tarts. There’s something about them that’s so appealing. Easy to grab in those early, mind-befuddled mornings, and they’re scrumptiously crisp and sweet. When we grow up, they may or may not hold up to our memories, but they’re ever popular with children everywhere.
And--no surprise--they’re not nutritious. You could probably go with your favorite candy bar and not be any worse off.
For this alternate recipe, we chose a dough that has Greek yogurt for extra protein. If you can get away with it, you can use whole wheat flour--but this won’t taste like the junk food your kids want. Unless they happen to love wheat flour, go with Greek yogurt dough for the boost of nutrition, but still with a white flour taste.
For the filling, you can up the nutrition in a delicious way by smashing whole berries with chia seeds. Use the resulting jam in the Pop-Tarts and as a spread for your toast and PP&J.
Garlic Fries From Ellie Krieger at Food Network
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 large baking potatoes, 12 ounces each
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Heat the garlic and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Strain the garlic from the oil with a small mesh strainer. Set both garlic and oil aside.
Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch sticks. In a large bowl, toss the oil, potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread the potatoes onto it in a single layer. Bake until golden and crisp, about 35 minutes.
Remove potatoes from the tray with a metal spatula. Toss with parsley, reserved garlic, and additional salt, to taste. Serve immediately.
Healthy Pop-Tarts from The Big Man’s World
- 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour gluten-free, if necessary
- 1 cup Greek or Coconut Yogurt
Sift your self-rising flour if it is clumpy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour with yogurt and mix well. Using your hands, press into the dough and form a ball shape.
Roll it out and cut. Add a tablespoon of flour on top of your ball of dough and generously flour a kitchen surface. Transfer the ball of dough and knead several times. Roll out the dough, and use your hands to form a rectangular shape. Continue rolling it out, until the dough is around 12 inches in length and 6 inches in height. Using a long knife (or pizza cutter), cut the dough down the middle lengthways (the long side) and cut 7 times the other side, forming 16 uniform rectangles.
Form the pop tarts-- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place 8 of the rectangles of dough onto the lined tray, evenly spaced. Then, you’ll add a tablespoon of jam to the center of each one. Moving quickly, add the remaining 8 rectangles of dough on top of each one. Using a fork, press down around the edges, sealing up the dough to form a single pastry. Brush the tops of each pop tart with milk.
Bake and glaze: Bake the pop tarts for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let cool completely, before frosting.
Strawberry Chia Jam from The Worktop
- 2 ½ cups strawberries - I tend to use frozen, but fresh also works
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons honey
- zest of one lemon
In a medium saucepan, heat the strawberries on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning on the bottom of the pan. The strawberries should release their juices after a couple of minutes.
Mash the strawberries so you don't have large chunks of strawberries in the jam. I always mash my strawberries with a potato masher.
Stir in the chia seeds, honey, and lemon zest.
Remove from heat and transfer to a jar. Allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator. The jam will continue to set as it cools.
Good luck, friends. Let us know how they all turn out!