Hungry Girl: Smart Swaps for the Kids’ Meals You Can’t Stop Eating

03/10/2014 at 04:11 PM ET

Hungry Girl Healthy Foods for Kids
TheCrimsonMonkey/Getty; Inset: Courtesy Hungry Girl

Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating.

She is also the author of eight Hungry Girl cookbooks, five of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.

It’s the eternal parent dilemma: What goodies can I keep in the house or make for dinner that’ll satisfy the whole family, but won’t cause me to go up a pants size? Celeb parents must feel this too, right? I’ve got some ideas to help:

The Sneaky Chef Creamy No-Nut Butter
This imitation nut butter spread is made from golden peas, which sounds odd, but you’d never guess! It tastes great and it’s got less fat than regular peanut butter. Pair with low-sugar jam and light bread for a smart PB&J swap!

Snikiddy Eat Your Vegetables Chips
Rid your kitchen of salty, fatty potato chips and try these on for crunch. They have a full serving of veggies like kale in each 1-oz. serving (130 calories, 7g fat), and they taste incredible! Side note: Snikiddy has a whole slew of guilt-free, kid-friendly snacks worth checking out.

HG’s Super-Sized Boxed Mac ‘n Cheese
Here’s a way to lighten up the fat content and boost the nutrition of the classic kid favorite (that parents can’t help dipping into): blue-box mac ’n cheese. Start with macaroni & cheese made with 50% whole grain (for added fiber; I like the Kraft version), prepare with skim milk and light butter, and stir in cooked butternut squash for even more fiber! The portion size is huge, and kids love the sweet squash flavor. I think Honey Boo Boo might even like it better than Mama June’s infamous “sketti”

Chobani Champions Tubes
For the kid on the go (perhaps North West in her teeny Lamborghini?), Chobani Champions makes a tubed yogurt with natural ingredients that comes in flavors like Flyin’ Dragon Fruit. It’s Greek yogurt, which means it’s packed with protein. And with 70 calories and 1g fat each, it’s NBD if you sneak one now and then. (You bought them, so you’re allowed!)

Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies Snack Packs
No one of any age can resist bite-sized cheesy crackers. What I love about these packs is that they’re portion controlled, which helps to curb the accidental devouring of an entire multi-serving box at once. Plus, Annie’s makes good wholesome food, and the crackers are made from organic wheat and real cheese, with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Each pack has 130 calories and 6g fat. Crunch, crunch!

Honey Mustard Pretzel-Coated Chicken Fingers
Another food popular with the kiddos is chicken fingers. (Can you blame them?) But instead of serving up deep-fried poultry, try this recipe of mine. It’s baked, not fried, and the strips are coated with crushed pretzels! Eat four fingers for around 350 calories and 2.5g fat. Yum for the whole family! P.S.: Kids aren’t the only ones with a weakness for chicken fingers — supermodel Elle Macpherson loves ‘em too.

‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!

FILED UNDER: Food Blog , Hungry Girl , Pizza

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