If you are having trouble coming up with a monthly organic kids menu, help is on its way! Recently, LoveToKnow had the opportunity to talk with Vicki Koenig, registered nutritionist and dietitian for Stonyfield Farm about her thoughts on creating healthy, organic meals for children.
Challenges of Creating a Monthly Organic Kids Menu
Along with the interview, Vicki sent a sample organic menu with the special tastes and needs of children in mind.
Eating organically is important, and eating locally is gaining more popularity as people not only realize the impact of shipping on the environment but that local food is tastier. Although you might not have space to grow a garden, you can still eat locally by shopping at farmer's markets, local produce stands, and buying directly from the people that produce what you need in your area.
Examples of Monthly Menus
By Vicki Koenig, MS, RD, CDN: Stonyfield's Nutritionist
It's autumn harvest time! What's available in your garden, farmer's market or CSA that's easy to make, in season and organic? In the northeast, there are greens, potatoes, winter squash, carrots, apples, pears, concord grapes, raspberries and because we raise bees, we have honey… I also include organic yogurt in the dishes to support regional organic dairy farmers. What do you offer your child that's made from fresh, organic ingredients? Take a look!
- The raspberries are still ripening and being picked in my garden. I lay them on trays, freeze them and then pack them into small freezer bags to use all year round in muffins and pancakes. Check out your local pick-your-own. They may still be available.
- Oatmeal or pancakes topped with fresh raspberries or added in while cooked
- Yogurt smoothie blended with local apples, pears and frozen raspberries
- Harvested fresh garden veggies (carrots, broccoli, radishes, red peppers) with yogurt dip or hummus or bean dip or ranch dressing
- Fresh salad greens and shredded carrots in a pita with turkey breast or chicken or hummus or cheese
- Sliced pumpkin bread with Greek yogurt and apple slices on the side
- Homemade greens and beans with chicken soup. Use kale, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, escarole or mustard greens. Can be made vegetarian with extra beans and vegetable broth. Sauté garlic and greens in olive oil. Add cooked chicken, black beans or beans of choice with chicken broth. Season to taste.
- Creamy carrot soup or use up your wilting or spare pumpkins in pumpkin soup
- Quesadillas with beans, sautéed green onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes and greens with grated cheese
- Pasta with homemade pesto from basil in the garden. (Freeze extra pesto for "fast-food" dinners all winter)
- Herbed potato salad made with fresh herbs and plain yogurt
- Twice baked potatoes or sweet potatoes. These are baked potatoes blended with yogurt and chives, put back into the skins and baked again.
- Spiced yogurt and honey dip with fresh apple and pear slices
- Pumpkin pie, pumpkin ginger muffins
- Yogurt pudding made with yogurt, cream with raw sugar topping spread over fresh raspberries or other sliced fruit in season
- Apple spice muffins for dessert but healthy enough for breakfast
- Apple crisp, of course!
Choosing local and organic ingredients ensures you're getting fresh and nutritious meals while preserving the rural landscape. Your family's health is enhanced as well as is the local economic and environmental health of your community.
Change It Monthly
Using the examples that Vicki gave, you can create your own menu by substituting what is in season in your area. Get in the habit of shopping the farmer's market first. Whole Foods and other organic food stores generally label their produce when it is local, and many conventional grocers are beginning to do the same.
By getting your children involved, keeping food fresh, and changing with the seasons you can create a monthly organic kids menu that works for your family.