dcsimg

Taste the rainbow: 6 colorful, kid-friendly meal ideas

colorful recipes

I'll never forget the night before my son's first really big day of preschool; I was going to mark the occasion with a healthier, homemade version of his fast food favorite. I smugly cooked up some chicken fingers (organic with whole grain breading, of course) and some oven-baked fries. Dessert was vanilla yogurt topped with banana slices.

Culinary Arts

My enthusiasm diminished as I plated it. Sure, I healthified the heck out of the happy meal, but the result was still a sad beige result void of nutritional variety (and visual interest). Was this how I wanted to fuel my son for such a momentous occasion? That night, I committed myself to serving much more colorful dishes.

Eating by color

Nutritionists will tell you that the best way to ensure your child is getting a broad variety of nutrients is to serve a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. The color of your produce provides clues to its nutritional content: red choices tend to be high in cancer-fighting lycopene, orange and yellow choices are rich in beta-carotene, and so on. Colorful plates also add visual interest, a clever ploy for encouraging your little one to eat up. Here are just a few ideas to help you get started.

Colorful meal ideas

Oatmeal with mix-ins: Start with a wholesome bowl of Irish oats, the healthiest variety on the shelves. Stir in an assortment of dried or fresh fruit. Toss in some walnuts, almonds or flax seed to boost healthy fat, including brain-empowering omega fatty acids. Tip: Prepare slow-cooking Irish oats overnight in the crock pot for stress-free mornings.

Rainbow salad: Start with shredded or thinly sliced carrots, red peppers, cucumber (or zucchini), and any other veggie you think your kids will eat, then toss in your favorite homemade vinaigrette. For an Asian flare, toss in a dressing of olive and sesame oils, garlic, grated ginger and a dash of soy sauce.

Fruit kabobs: Everything tastes better on a stick. Cube or slice a diversity of colorful fruit and thread onto either blunted skewers or coffee stirrers. Serve alongside a yogurt or cream cheese dip.

Summer pasta: Toss hot, cooked pasta with sautéed zucchini, onion and mushrooms. Stir in chopped, roasted red pepper and spinach. Cover until the greens have wilted, then finish with some feta cheese and a drizzle of heart-healthy olive oil.

Hummus faces: Toast a whole grain pita or English muffin, then top with a layer of hummus. Use assorted vegetables to design a "face." Be creative. Use olive for eyes, a tomato wedge for a mouth, shredded carrots for hair and so forth.

Veggie roll-ups: Start with a whole grain tortilla spread with a layer of cream cheese (hint: mix the cream cheese with some mashed avocado for a healthy boost). Top with finely diced veggies. Roll the tortilla and slice into bite-size "pinwheels" or "snails." For a sweet treat, replace the veggies with fresh or dried fruit.

Strategies for picky eaters

If a colorful plate doesn't tempt your child to indulge in their veggies, try another approach. If you serve a side salad with pizza, your child is much more likely to fill up on the latter. Instead, offer a variety of veggies with dip while you prepare dinner to limit the unhealthy competition. Also consider including your child in meal preparation: pick out your produce together, then encourage your child to help you prepare and serve it. Getting your child involved in the kitchen is a sure-fire way to pique their culinary interest.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found

            Sullivan University is a private institution of higher learning dedicated to providing educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social and professional development of its students. The institution offers career-focused curricula with increasing rigor from the certificate through diploma, associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree levels. Throughout those curricula, the university seeks to promote the development of critical thinking, effective verbal and written communication, computer literacy, and teamwork as well as an appreciation for life-long learning, cultural diversity and the expression of professionalism in all activities. At the graduate level, the university also seeks to promote a culture of research.

            1 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
            Show more [+]
            1 Program(s) Found
            Salter College , West Boylston
            • Offers training programs in preparation for professional careers in business, health care, and computers.
            • Provides associate and certificate programs in medical assisting, massage therapy, culinary arts, and more.
            • Places students in externships to gain real world experience before completing their respective program.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            • 2 campuses in Chicopee and West Boylston, Massachusetts.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]