In February of this year, The Atlantic published an article with this hard to believe title: When Schools Literally Take Food Out of the Hands of Children. The story highlighted the poor decision of one Salt Lake Elementary school to throw away the lunches of children who had insufficient funds in their prepaid lunch accounts. Understandably, once the incident was publicized, the school and the district received horrible backlash for their actions (read the entire article).
However, the article also brought up a current issue circulating within schools and, in a broader sense, America as a whole. While trying to provide for children, schools must decide how to balance a budget, which, according to the article, “has led school districts to implement policies that range from absorbing debt to offering less expensive meals for free.”
But, these “less expensive meals” are often found in the form of high-fat, low-in-nutrition foods, like cheese sticks and PB&J sandwiches. Even outside of the cafeteria, parents are having to make the same decisions when feeding families on a budget, often having to provide hot meals via fast food establishments rather than buying healthy groceries and preparing wholesome, fresh meals.
The Good News: Not all healthy foods will break the bank
In fact, we have compiled a list (via the Huffington Post) of the top five cheapest health foods to get at the grocery store. And, with each nutrition-packed food, we have provided some kid-friendly recipes so you can eat healthy, spend less and avoid those groans from around the dinner table.
Top 5 Cheap Health Foods and How to Get Your Kids to Eat Them
1. Legumes: These inexpensive, high-in-fiber, filling foods come in many varieties and can add a fun dose of color to your child’s next meal. A legume is basically a dried food within a shell or pod (think of peas and beans). Legumes are low in calories and can be used to add substance to soups, salads, or as a simple side dish.
Kids & Legumes: Broccoli and White Bean “Nuggets”: Toddler Tested, Mom Approved
2. Sprouted Grain Breads: A great alternative to bread made from white flour or whole grain flour, sprouted grain breads are easy to digest and, increasingly, easy to buy at any local market. The best part about this bread is it’s still bread and won’t take much reworking or camouflage to get your kids to eat it, but, just in case…
Kids & Sprouted Grain Breads: Grilled Cheese with a Healthy Twist
3. (Natural) Peanut Butter: This one seems obvious, but natural or organic peanut butter does not have any hydrogenated oils, meaning there’s no trans fat. Plus, natural peanut butter, as the name suggests, has whittled down the ingredients compared to regular peanut butters. Again, it’s just peanut butter, so this one shouldn’t be too hard, but just to be safe, here’s a kid-friendly recipe.
Kids & Natural Peanut Butter: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oat Muffins
4. Eggs: Nothing fancy here, just good ole’ eggs. Crack open an egg and you’re cracking open a powerhouse of protein, Vitamins A & B, and folic acid. Plus, you can typically buy eggs in bulk, which saves you money and keeps your fridge stocked with a great go-to food for your kids.
Kids & Eggs: Spinach & Cheese Egg Cups Wrapped in Turkey Bacon
5. Oatmeal: Ah, the classic bowl of oatmeal. This traditional breakfast food is packed with more nutrients than you may have thought, we’re talking fiber, protein and antioxidants. Unfortunately, most kids won’t eat plain oatmeal when they have sugary cereals and Pop-Tarts.
Kids & Oatmeal: Strawberry Oatmeal Smoothie
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