7 Savory (and Healthy) Recipes Your Family Will Love

The number of overweight persons in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. An estimated 61 percent of U.S. adults and 13 percent of children and adolescents were overweight in 1999, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. This distressing trend can be attributed to, among other factors, a national belt-busting love affair with fast food—Americans spend more than $110 billion annually on this high-fat fare—and an increasingly sedentary society, where television viewing and computer gaming have surpassed outdoor activities and physical exercise in popularity.

To help you and your family become better eaters, we’ve put together these seven nutritioushealthy recipes for kids (and delicious) recipes. Each delectable dish is loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients needed to promote healthy bone growth, help fend off disease and provide a much-needed energy boost. Best of all, your kids will love the taste. So break out the pots and pans, and make healthy eating a family affair. Bon appetit!

1.  Breakfast Raisin-Banana Tortilla Roll-up

Makes 4 tortillas

Your children will go ape for this tasty tortilla breakfast treat. Better yet, it packs a protein punch, contains one delicious fruit serving and can be made ahead of time for kids on the go.


4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup peanut butter

2 medium bananas, sliced

6 tablespoons raisins


For each sandwich, spread 1 side of each tortilla with 1/4 cup peanut butter. Cover peanut butter with half of 1 sliced banana, and then sprinkle overtop 1-1/2 tablespoons raisins. Roll tortilla up tightly; cut in half to serve. Repeat to make 3 more sandwiches. Sandwiches can be made up to 12 hours in advance, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated.

Recipe courtesy of the California Raisin Marketing Board.

2.  Raisin Cereal Pops

Makes 12 pops

Tame your family’s sweet tooth with this tummy-tempting take on healthy snacking. Crunchy and sweet, this easy-to-make delight is ripe with raisins—a fruit high in photochemicals, an organic compound that may reduce the risk of many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis. 


5 cups crisp rice cereal
3 cups raisins
1/4 cup butter
1 package (10 ounces) marshmallows
1/3 cup presweetened fruit flavor powdered drink mix

nonstick cooking spray
12 (7-ounce) paper cups
12 wooden sticks (available at hobby and craft stores)


In a large bowl, combine the cereal and raisins. Set aside. In medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows to the melted margarine. Cook and stir over very low heat until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the drink mix powder. Pour the butter mixture over the cereal mixture; combine well. Lightly spray fingers and the paper cups with nonstick cooking spray. Using your hands, firmly pack mixture into sprayed cups. Take a wooden stick and push it all the way to the bottom of each cup. Chill the cups in the refrigerator for no less than 1 hour. When ready to serve, turn cups upside down and tap bottoms to remove pops.

Recipe courtesy of the California Raisin Marketing Board.

3.  Almond-Crusted Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Dried Apricots and Cherries

Makes 8 servings

Tired of serving the same old chicken? Pep up your poultry with this fruit-filled, almond-laced dish, destined to become a family favorite.


3/4 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried apricots, cut into fine strips
1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup warm water
Salt and pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded ¼-inch thick
wooden toothpicks

1/4 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped slivered almonds

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 chopped shallots
1-1/2 cups whipping cream


In a small bowl, combine the cherries, apricots, chicken stock and water. Cover and let marinade for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain the liquid into a small saucepan. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the fruit mixture onto center of each chicken breast. Fold both ends of each chicken breast over the fruit mixture and secure with wooden toothpicks. 

Place three shallow bowls on your workspace: place the flour in the first bowl; the eggs in the second bowl; and combine the almonds and bread crumbs in the third bowl.  Thoroughly cover each fruit-filled chicken piece with flour; then dredge through the egg; and then place in the third bowl so that each chicken breast is coated completely in the almond-and-breadcrumb mixture. Place the chicken on plate in single layer; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Heat oven to 375° F.  In a 12-inch skillet, warm the butter and oil over medium heat.  Pan fry the chicken bundles, turning once, until well browned, about 5 minutes on each side.  Transfer the browned chicken to a baking sheet and finish cooking in center of oven, 8 to 10 minutes, being sure the chicken juices run clear. While the chicken is baking, add the shallots to the chicken stock mixture and cook on medium-high heat. At the same time, in another saucepan, cook the whipping on medium-high heat until reduced by half. Strain the chicken stock mixture into the reduced cream. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle hot sauce onto eight serving plates, dividing equally. Remove the chicken from the oven, take out the toothpicks and place a fruit-topped chicken breast over the sauce on each plate.

Recipe Adapted from Chef Doug Silva, Silva’s Sheldon Inn in Elk Grove, CA, courtesy of the Almond Board of California.

4.  Pledge of Allegiance Parfaits

Makes 2 parfaits

Make every day the Fourth of July with these patriotic parfaits. Brimming over with berries and yogurt, these quick-and-easy treats are high in vitamin C, fiber and calcium. 


2 parfait glasses (or 8-ounce clear plastic cups)
1 cup strawberries, sliced

1 cup blueberries

2 cups vanilla or French vanilla low-fat yogurt

Fill the bottom of each parfait glass with the sliced strawberries. Top strawberries with a layer of yogurt; then add the blueberries. Repeat layers in original order until you’ve reached the brim of the parfait glass. If desired, top each patriotic dessert with a tiny American flag.


Recipe courtesy of the National Yogurt Association.



5.  Waldorf Salad
Makes 4 servings


This old-fashioned favorite tastes like the original, but has half the fat. Seldom has something that tastes this good been so good for you!


2 red skinned crisp apples, try red delicious (3 cups)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 ribs celery, diced (1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons toasted, chopped walnuts

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise dressing

4 cups romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-size pieces

1/4 cup raisins


Wash and cut the apples into quarters, core, then dice into 3/4-inch pieces. Toss the apples in a large bowl with the lemon juice. Add the celery, walnuts, and mayonnaise dressing. Mix thoroughly. Place the lettuce on four plates or in individual salad bowls. Scoop the apple mixture onto each bed of lettuce. Sprinkle raisins over the top.


Recipe courtesy of the National Cancer Institute’s “Eat 5 a Day” program.


6.  Sweet Potato Brûlée

Makes 4 servings


Nix the French fries and serve up some sweet spuds that taste more like dessert than a veggie side dish. Oozing with maple syrup, brown sugar and cinnamon, these palate-pleasing potatoes are an excellent source of fiber and high in vitamins A and C.


4 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cut lengthwise into 8 pieces each

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons ginger

2 tablespoons brown sugar


Preheat your oven’s broiler. Wrap in the sweet potato halves in aluminum foil, and broil for 30 minutes, or until soft. Place cooked sweet potatoes in a food processor. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. (If you don’t have a food processor, place the sweet potatoes in a medium bowl and beat until smooth with a potato masher or wooden spoon.) Add to the whipped sweet potatoes, the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. Beat until well combined, about 30 seconds. Divide the sweet potato mixture into 6 individual custard dishes or bowls that can be used in the oven. Coat the surface with the brown sugar. Place custard dishes on a baking sheet and set under the broiler until the brown sugar melts and bubbles, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully and remove before sugar begins to burn. Let cool for a couple of minutes; serve warm.


Recipe courtesy of the National Cancer Institute’s “Eat 5 a Day” program.


7.  Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry 

Makes 4 servings

Jazz up dinner with this taste bud-tingling, four-veggie sensation that will have your family begging for an encore.     


3/4 pound beef round steak, boneless (12 ounces)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup sliced carrots

2 ribs celery, diced (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup diced onion

1 tablespoon soy sauce


1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 cups broccoli florets

1-1/4 cup water


Trim all of the fat from the steak. Slice the steak across the grain into thin strips, about 1/8 inch wide and 3 inches long. (Partially frozen meat is easier to slice). Heat the oil in a wok or large fry pan. Add the beef strips and stir-fry over high heat, turning pieces constantly, until beef is no longer red (about 3-4 minutes). Reduce heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, soy sauce, pepper and garlic powder. Cover and cook until carrots are slightly tender (3 to 5 minutes). Add broccoli; cook until vegetables are tender-crisp (3 to 4 minutes). In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water until smooth; add slowly to the beef mixture, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened and vegetables are coated with a thin glaze.

Recipe courtesy of the National Cancer Institute’s “Eat 5 a Day” program.

Updated August 2012