Most preschoolers are at an age when they start to get picky with food and become far more interested in playing than eating. However, it is also the time when good nutrition directly impacts all aspects of their growth and development. This makes it very important for parents to make sure that their children always have a well-balanced diet that have the right vitamins and minerals.
Since this is also a stage when young children are still developing their eating habits, it is the perfect time to teach them about food and eating. Teaching them about the importance of good nutrition throughout childhood will lay the foundation for healthier eating habits in the future. According to the British Nutrition Foundation, introducing young children to healthy meals and snacks helps in getting them into the habit of consuming a healthy, varied diet.
One way to make sure that your preschoolers are getting the proper nutrition that they need is by giving them milk that is fortified with necessary vitamins and nutrients. Milk is an important part of a toddler's diet as it is a good source of protein; it’s high in calcium, which is important for growing bones and teeth (calcium is more easily taken into the body from milk than from vegetable foods); it provides fat for energy and growth; and is rich in vitamins, especially Vitamin A and B.However, now that they go to school and are away from home a couple of hours a day, they won’t be able to drink milk as frequently as they used to.
An easy way to still include milk and all its nutrients into your children's diet is by incorporating growing-up milk into their lunch box staples. This instantly upgrades their snacks into more nutritious versions.
Make them snacks fortified with growing-up milk that they won’t be able to resist. Healthy doesn’t have to mean boring, and there are plenty of fun and healthy baon recipes using milk that you can master and that the kids will surely enjoy. Here are some ideas you can try, one for each day of the week.
Yummy & Healthy Lunch Box Recipes with Growing-up Milk for Your Preschooler
Monday: Fruits & Nuts Pancakes
3/4 cup growing-up milk
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp coconut oil
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Fruit of your choice, sliced (banana, strawberries, mango, etc.)
Pancake syrup or honey
Directions: Mix all the ingredients together except for the last two. Then, grease your pan so the mixture won’t stick to it. Pour the mixture onto the pan over medium heat, the amount depends on how big or thick you want your pancakes to be. Wait until you see bubbles form on the pancake, then flip to cook the other side. Add fruits and walnuts on top and a bit of pancake syrup or honey.
Tip: To make it more fun for your preschooler, arrange the pieces of fruits and nuts on your pancakes to form a happy face or any other cute design your child might enjoy.
Tuesday: Milky Mac & Cheese
3/4 cup growing-up milk
1/2 cup macaroni pasta
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Directions: Cook the pasta and set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add in the flour, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes. Add the milk gradually. You’d want to thicken it so continue stirring until it has the consistency that you want. Add the cheese, but save some for thetopping. Pour in the cooked pasta onto the sauce and mix well. Top with the remaining grated cheese.
Tip: You can add peas and/or carrots to the recipe to “veggie-fy” it.
Wednesday: Chocolate & Banana Custard
100 mL growing-up milk
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp chocolate powder
1 small banana
Directions: Combine the first three ingredients together, then pop into the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. You want the mixture to thicken a little. This is your custard. Slice the banana into small pieces, then add it to the custard and mix.
Tip: To make it even more irresistible for your preschooler, add a few pieces of tiny chocolate chips to your custard.
Thursday: Banana Muffins
4 scoops growing-up milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1.5 cup oats
2 eggs, slightly beaten
6 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
1 cup bananas, mashed
Directions: Preheat oven to 200° C. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Then, add in the eggs, oil, water, and bananas. Gently stir the mixture until the dry ingredients are moistened. Set aside. Grease muffin tins or you can use cupcake liners. Fill about 2/3 of each tin with the mixture. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Tip: You can use other fruits, too. For example, if your child loves strawberries, you can replace the bananas with that, and instead of mashing them, you can cut them into small chunks. Blueberries and apples are also good alternatives.
Friday: Fruity Overnight Oats
1/2 cup growing-up milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup oats
Assorted fruits of your choice Flavored yogurt
Layer the ingredients in a jar: first the oats at the bottom, then the yogurt, chia seeds, and fruits at the topmost layer. Cover the jar tightly with the lid, then shake until everything’s thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate overnight.
Tip: Pack in an insulated lunch bag to keep the yogurt chilled until your child’s recess.
These recipes are not only delicious, they will also boost your preschooler’s energy and provide him with the complete nutrition he needs as a growing child.