A question I get asked over and over again is about getting kids to eat (and maybe even enjoy) healthy food. Everyone seems to want to know how they can get their kids to choose hummus over queso or carrot sticks over chocolate. I wish I had the answers. I do. I know that if you eliminate the “bad” choices that they’ll get hungry enough to eat the good. But is that teaching them to enjoy healthy food? Or is it just putting them in a position to want to rebel when out on their own – gorging themselves in sweets and simple carbs? There is no clear answer.
I have two boys (ages 12 and 9). My 12-year-old will try anything and loves most everything. My 9-year-old would love to live on pizza and mac & cheese. I haven’t kicked pizza and those blue boxes of easy mac & cheese out of the house, but when I find something healthy that the little one enjoys, I make sure it is also always around. I’ve also gotten them very used to a couple of really healthy options of common favorites. Skim milk is the only milk that comes into our house. Once used to it, the full fat and even 2% versions are difficult to drink. The other is whole wheat pasta.
I’ve had friends turn their noses up at whole wheat pasta. “My child won’t eat that” But if you haven’t tasted the product recently, I suggest you give it another try. My boys both love it. They don’t know why they prefer my spaghetti to those found elsewhere but the truth is that they’re very used to (and love) the texture of the whole wheat pasta. Spaghetti night is a favorite around this house and a healthy meal for everyone. So pick up some whole wheat spaghetti, whip up a batch of this simple, yet healthy spaghetti sauce and see if you can get your kids to love it as well.
All Good Spaghetti Sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound very lean ground beef, browned and drained
- 20 oz. tomato sauce
- 15 oz. stewed tomatoes
- 10 oz. tomatoes with green chilies
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add onion, bell pepper, green onion and bay leaf. Saute until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and continue cooking until garlic becomes aromatic.
Season with salt and pepper and add ground beef. Stir well to combine. Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomatoes with green chilies and sugar. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes. Add basil during the last 10 minutes of simmering. If mixture become too thick, add water as needed.
Serve over whole wheat pasta