Macaroni and cheese is delicious, creamy, and cheesy. But in all that too-good-to-be-true taste, there are some nutrients for your kids. Everyone’s favorite blue box of macaroni and cheese includes 9 grams of protein, 8% of your daily calcium needs, and a whopping 15% of iron.
OK, who doesn’t love chocolate milk? Sure, there’s sugar, but everything in moderation, and chocolate milk does also come with 28% of your recommended calcium needs per day, 25% of your vitamin D needs, and 8 grams of protein.
A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is just a staple of childhood. (And motherhood, honestly.) Not only are they easy to whip up, but they’re full of protein, healthy fats, calcium, iron, vitamin B, and folate. Depending on which PB or jelly you use, you might have more nutrients.
If your kid is a pizza fan, don’t panic. For starters, try to get some veggies on there — once they’re covered in cheese and on top of crust, your kid might be more likely to try them. And depending on your toppings, pizza can be a source of calcium, protein, and fiber.
There’s a certain brand of cereal kids have been eating since they developed the pincer grasp, and if you’re worried about your child’s Cheerios obsession, don’t be. They’re made of whole grain oats and full of fiber, 12 vitamins and minerals, iron, and calcium. A fine snack.
Cheese sticks come in a variety of brands, but some of the more popular ones have the same nutrients, including 7 grams of protein in one stick, and 15% of your daily calcium intake. Bonus: super easy snack to throw your kid in the car, and pairs well with fruit.
Juice has also changed a lot over the years, but even the sweetest brands pack some nutrients thanks to the ingredients. If you want, look specifically for some that have less sugar, but even the most sugary juices include calcium, tons of vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.
If your kid loves to dip anything and everything into ketchup, have no fear. Like other foods on this list, you can find a healthier version of ketchup, but even the classic condiment has vitamin A and vitamin C inside.
Chicken nuggets are forever a kid favorite. But look, chicken! In nuggets! Full of protein. And if you grab a version that’s made with other healthy ingredients (my family loves the Perdue Plus with the breading made from chickpeas and cauliflower), you can grab more nutrients.
Canned ravioli has come a long way since the ‘90s. There are tons of brands that have packed their ravioli with veggies, but even the most basic can has some protein, iron, and potassium. And remember, it’s all about moderation and balance!
Pancakes can be more than just a breakfast item. My kids love pancakes, and while there are tons of healthy recipes out there (some made with bananas and spinach), even classic pancakes have nutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamins and minerals.
Granola bars are also a super easy snack to pass to your kids, and depending on the brand you buy, they can be super healthy. Most of them include fiber, protein, and lots of other vitamins. You can try to find ones with whole grains and fruit as the top ingredients.
Fruit snacks! Another kid snack that can come in so many varieties and brands. You can pick a reduced sugar option if you want, but most fruit snacks come with tons of vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as some fiber.
Any kind of baked cheese cracker is going to be crunchy, delicious, and yes, at least a bit nutritious. Even a 12-ounce bag of a popular brand includes some fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, and protein.
French fries are, yes, fried potatoes in heavy oil, but the popular side also has fiber and protein. If you really want to try and jazz up the health, you can make them in an air fryer instead of a deep fryer, or try sweet potato fries instead.