Helping kids eat a healthy diet doesn't have to be difficult. Here are 12 tips:

1. Make it fun. Serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite fat-free dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters.

2. Recruit your child's help. At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. Don't buy anything that you don't want your child to eat. At home, let your child help choose what to eat, and also help you rinse veggies, stir batter, or set the table.

3. Be cunning. Add chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce, top cereal with fruit slices, and mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups. Serve veggies first at mealtime, when children are hungriest.

4. Don't offer dessert as a reward. Withholding dessert sends the message that dessert is the best food, which may only increase your child's desire for sweets. You might select one or two nights a week as dessert nights, and skip dessert the rest of the week. Or redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt, or other healthy choices.

5. Designate a snacking zone. Restrict snacking to the kitchen. You'll save your children countless calories from mindless munching in front of the TV.

6. Make it quick. If your children need to snack on the go, think beyond a bag of potato chips. Offer string cheese, fresh fruit, cereal bars, or other drip-free items.

7. Go for the grain. Whole-grain snacks -- such as whole-grain pretzels or tortillas and low-sugar, whole-grain cereals -- can give your children energy with some staying power.

8. Pull out the blender. Use skim milk, fat-free yogurt, and fresh fruit to make your own smoothies.

9. Promote independence. Make it east for older children to help themselves. Keep a selection of ready-to-eat veggies in the refrigerator. Leave fresh fruit in a bowl on the counter. Store low-sugar, whole-grain cereal in an easily accessible cabinet. Stock fruit, either canned or packaged in its own juice, in your pantry.

10. Use some imagination. Offer something new, such as fresh pineapple, cranberries, red or yellow peppers, or roasted soy nuts. Slice a whole-wheat pita and serve with hummus.

11. Mix and match. Serve baby carrots or other raw veggies with fat-free ranch dressing. Dip graham crackers or fresh fruit in fat-free yogurt. Top celery, apple, or bananas with peanut butter.

12. Set a good example. Let your children catch you munching raw vegetables or snacking on a bowl of grapes. If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.

Healthy Joes
Gladys M. High
Ephrata, PA

Makes 4 servings

Prep. Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

¾ lb. 90%-lean ground pork loin
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium bell sweet pepper, chopped
1½ cups diced tomatoes, no salt added, undrained
1 medium zucchini, shredded, optional
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. minced garlic
pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 whole wheat hamburger buns

1. In large skillet, cook ground pork, onion, and bell pepper until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off drippings.

2. Stir in diced tomatoes, zucchini if you wish, chili powder, paprika, garlic, and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat.

3. Add tomato paste to thicken. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

4. Spoon mixture into buns and enjoy.

Per Serving
Calories 343, Kilojoules 1435, Protein 27 g, Carbohydrates 44 g, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Monounsaturated Fat 3.5 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol 53 mg, Sodium 273 mg, Fiber 7 g

Dietitian's tip: Substituting ground turkey breast for regular ground beef sheds about 200 calories, 7 grams of fat and 4 grams of saturated fat.

Honey-Glazed Carrots
Janet Oberholtzer
Ephrata, PA

Makes 4 servings

Prep. Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes

16-oz. pkg. baby carrots
2 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. honey
½ Tbsp. lemon juice

1. Cook carrots in a bit of water in a saucepan until they're as tender as you like.

2. Meanwhile, combine olive oil, honey, and lemon juice in a small microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high 20-30 seconds. Stir.

3. Drain carrots. Pour glaze over top and toss to coat.

Per Serving
Calories 76, Kilojoules 318, Protein 1 g, Carbohydrates 13 g, Total Fat 2.5 g, Saturated Fat 0.3 g, Monounsaturated Fat 1.7 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 89 mg, Fiber 3 g

The above is an excerpt from the book Fix-It and Enjoy It! Healthy Cookbook: 400 Great Stove-Top and Oven Recipes by Phyllis Pellman Good. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Reprinted from Fix-It and Enjoy-It! Healthy Cookbook. Copyright by Good Books ( Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Phyllis Pellman Good is a New York Times bestselling author whose books have sold nearly 10 million copies.

Good has authored the national #1 bestselling cookbook Fix-It And Forget-It Cookbook: Feasting with Your Slow Cooker (with Dawn J. Ranck), which appeared on The New York Times bestseller list, as well as the bestseller lists of USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Book Sense.

Good has also authored Fix-It and Enjoy-It Cookbook: All-Purpose, Welcome Home Recipes, Fix-It and Enjoy-It Diabetic Cookbook, and Fix-It and Enjoy-It 5-Ingredient Recipes, all for stove-top and oven use. (Fix-It and Enjoy-It is a "cousin" series to the Fix-It and Forget-It books.)

Good's cookbooks include Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook: 1400 Best Slow Cooker Recipes!, as well as four additional titles in the Fix-It and Forget-It series. Among her other cookbooks are The Best of Amish Cooking and The Central Market Cookbook.

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