Healthy Alternatives to 10 Childhood Favorites

Keep the kids happy and satisfied without sacrificing their favorite foods
Healthy Swaps for Kids

Make these changes for your family to keep them happy and healthy.

Whether it’s corn dogs, spaghetti & meatballs, or grilled cheese, we all have certain dishes that instantly take us back to our childhood.  Yet, while these and other childhood favorites are packed with flavor, they may not be the healthiest option for our own kids.

As such, the team at Chef Works, a worldwide leader in culinary apparel, has compiled the following quick guide for creating healthy alternatives to 10 childhood favorites.  

1. Spaghetti and Meatballs

We all remember family dinners, complete spaghetti and meatballs, and greasy garlic bread. Consider making a healthier version of this Italian favorite by replacing ground beef with ground turkey or chicken. While you’re at it, swap out your regular spaghetti for 100% whole-wheat spaghetti for some added fiber.

2. Pancakes

Fluffy pancakes on a Saturday morning are a delicious way to start your weekend. But we know this is probably not the best idea for your waistline. Opt for healthier pancakes by making them with whole-wheat flour and farina.

3. French Fries

Loved by both young and old, French fries are a favorite side dish for burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches. We know they’re greasy, but the good news is, French fries can be a little healthier when you bake them with the skins still on, rather than frying them. This greatly reduces the amount of fat you will consume and keeping the skin results in a higher nutritional value.

4. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Oh, the delicious grilled cheese. Fortunately, making this lunchtime favorite a little healthier takes minimal effort. Simply replace white bread with whole grain bread and consider low-fat or reduced-fat versions of your favorite melting cheeses.  Finally, consider adding vegetables like tomatoes and red peppers to your sandwich for a little extra vitamins and nutrients.

5. Ice Pops

Ice Popson a hot summer day are a tasty way to keep cool. Store-bought ice pops, though, are high in sugar. Your family doesn’t have to give up this favorite summertime dessert. Simply opt to make them yourself at home using fresh fruit and/or all natural fruit juices to ensure you’re only getting the healthiest of ingredients.

6. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

We can bet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have been a part of your home for many generations. While peanut butter is, in fact, pretty healthy (when eaten in moderation), most jellies available at the supermarket are overloaded with sugar.  So the next time you’re making a PB&J, solve this problem by replacing the jelly with fresh fruit such as strawberries and bananas!

7. Corn Dogs

While there is probably no completely healthy version of the corn dog, you can make a homemade one that’s probably a little more wholesome by using whole wheat dough to cover fat-free or reduce fat franks and by baking the corn dogs instead of frying them.

8. Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is definitely on the top of the list when it comes to comfort food. A way to make a healthier version of this childhood favorite is to opt for skinless white meat chicken versus the higher calorie dark meat and to bake the chicken instead of frying it.

9. Waffles

Waffles are a great treat to have for breakfast but skip the store-bought waffles and instead prepare your own using a multi-grain flour blend as a base.

10. Ice Cream


Ice cream has always been a childhood favorite dessert. With many different favors to choose from, it’s virtually impossible to get bored of this refreshing treat. The only downside, most store bought ice cream is high in fat and calories.  Instead, try making it at home, using fresh seasonal fruits, natural sweeteners, and low fat milk.