A healthy trio of kids' favourites - Metro US

A healthy trio of kids’ favourites

Spring is approaching, which means it’s time to get ready for March break. It also means it’s time to dig up some great family recipes. These are children’s favourites — that are also very nutritious — so you can make sure your kids get all the essential nutrients and also get to enjoy the food.

Shepherd’s Pie
Serves 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Make Ahead:Prepare the entire pie up to a day in advance and refrigerate. Bake just before serving.

This is a real classic that families still love to eat. For more nutrition, try sweet potatoes.


  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrots
  • 12 oz extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup beef (or chicken) stock
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (or store-bought spaghetti sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas


  • 1 1/2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp canned evaporated milk (2%) (or lower fat milk)
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8-inch-square baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Place a large, nonstick skillet lightly coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the oil and onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and sauté for 5 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking up the meat as it cooks.

3. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, stock, tomato sauce, basil leaves and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 minutes or until thickened. Add the frozen peas. Place in a baking dish.

4. Meanwhile, cover the potatoes with water in a pot, and boil for 10 minutes or just until tender. Drain and add the olive oil, milk, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Mash until smooth.

5. Spread the mashed potatoes over the beef mixture in the baking dish. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until hot. Garnish with fresh basil.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving

  • Calories 230
  • Protein 23 g
  • Fat 8.9 g
  • Saturated Fat 2.6 g
  • Carbohydrates 15 g
  • Cholesterol 30 mg
  • Sodium 214 mg
  • Fiber 2.3 g

Chicken Fajitas
Serves 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Make Ahead: Prepare the filling up to a day in advance and refrigerate. Add 5 minutes to the baking time.

Tex mex food is an all-time kids’ favorite. These fajitas are creamy and rich, but without the fat of regular fajitas, which are loaded with a lot of cheese, sour cream, guacamole and beef. My version has plenty of vegetables, along with some light cheese and sour cream. Easy to make, and the whole family loves them.


  • 8 oz skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced white onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp chopped green onions
  • 6 small (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded light cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup medium salsa
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

2. Lightly coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 8 minutes or until cooked and no longer pink. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice thinly. Wipe out pan.

3. Add the oil to the pan and brown the onion and garlic, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the red pepper strips and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the parsley or cilantro, green onions and cooked chicken.

4. Divide the mixture among the tortillas. Top with the cheese, salsa and sour cream. Roll up.

5. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven for 5 minutes or until the fajitas are heated through and the cheese has melted. Cut in half and serve immediately.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving (1 fajita)

  • Calories 220
  • Protein 14 g
  • Fat 7.5 g
  • Saturated Fat 2.5 g
  • Carbohydrates 23 g
  • Cholesterol 29 mg
  • Sodium 340 mg
  • Fiber 2.1 g

Peanut Butter and Jam Muffins
Serves 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Make Ahead: Bake up to a day in advance or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

You can’t find a better combination than peanut butter and jam. Always use natural peanut butter (the kind that contains peanuts only). The other types often contain hydrogenated vegetable oil and icing sugar. If you’re baking for someone with a peanut allergy, try using other nut butters or soy butter.


  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large ripe banana (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 Tbsp smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp raspberry jam


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. Using a whisk or electric beaters, combine the oil, sugar, banana, peanut butter, egg, sour cream and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat until smooth.

3. In another bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt with a wooden spoon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients gradually and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened.

4. Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Press gently in the center of each muffin to make an indent and place a small amount of the jam inside.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving (1 muffin)

  • Calories 251
  • Protein 3.8 g
  • Fat 7.5 g
  • Saturated Fat 1.3 g
  • Carbohydrates 43 g
  • Cholesterol 22 mg
  • Sodium 160 mg
  • Fiber 1.2 g

More from our Sister Sites