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Iron Chef Jose Garces' Healthy Tips for Kids

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By: , – Maria Russo, Food Network’s Healthy Eats
9/19/2012 2:00 PM   :  4 comments   :  6,283 Views

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As a dad to two young children, Jose Garces is no stranger to the challenges that come with cooking for little eaters, but that doesn’t stop him from serving healthful fruits and veggies at home. This Iron Chef knows how to transform everyday ingredients into flavor-packed meals that are not only kid-approved but packed with nutrition, too. We checked in with Jose to find out his simple strategies for kid-friendly cooking and asked him to share a few simple suggestions to start the school year on a healthy note. Check out his best lunchbox picks, after-school snack solutions and more below, then get his top five healthy-eating tips for kids. 

Back-to-school season is officially here, and many moms and dads are wondering how to pack healthful lunchbox meals that their kids will actually enjoy eating. When you’re packing your children’s lunches, what staples do you reach for?

The best thing you can send kids to school with is fruit. My wife, Beatriz, and I like to slice up apples, pears and strawberries for our two children. We’ll also pack their lunches with blackberries, blueberries and maybe a banana. And our kids love oranges, so we’ll peel and segment them sometimes, too.

In the thermos it’s usually black bean soup with brown rice — have to use the brown rice! To change that up, we’ll fill the thermos with whole-wheat vermicelli made with low-sodium chicken broth, diced carrots and shredded chicken breast or broccoli-potato soup made with vegetable stock. Kids really like something crunchy in there, so we’ll give ours a few crackers or homemade croutons on the side to dip or just add in.
Between two slices — always whole-wheat or multi-grain slices — Beatriz and I will make them one of these simple and delicious sandwiches: natural peanut butter with homemade preserves or plain cheese, usually cheddar or mozzarella. Once in a while, for a treat, we’ll make Nutella and banana sandwiches for them.

Speaking of back-to-school, so many kids come home ravenous after a long day and ask for pre-dinner snacks. Can you recommend any good-for-you munchies to satisfy their after-school snack cravings?
I think natural granola bars with yogurt (Wallaby’s Australian peach, blackberry and strawberry are favorites), or even just plain, are a great choice for an after-school bite. It’s just enough to hold them over until dinner without ruining their appetites.

Click here for more healthy tips for kids from Food Network.

More from Food Network:What tips do you have for getting your kids to eat healthy?


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