The 10 Think-Outside-The-Box Non-Grain Side Dishes That Will Tickle Your Kids’ Bellies

by Gregory

Meat, vegetable and grain.  That triumvirate of the plate is as old as invention of the wheel.  But as Yoda said in Empire Strikes Back, you must “unlearn what you have learned.”  Does your family need to eat pasta, rice, potatoes, or any wheat-based item for dinner?  No, but the robotic response is the opposite.  That erroneous idea is
as misleading as “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” or “Milk does a body good.”

But you might say “Gregory, my kids might eat meat, but not the vegetables.  All they will eat are the carb-laden processed sides like mashed potatoes, bread, pasta, spaghetti, crackers, and what not.”  I understand that completely.  But we know the problem with grains: high in calorie, low in nutrition, high in anti-nutrients (such as lectin, phytic acid, gluten) that are causing a host of digestive and neurological maladies.

So let’s endeavor to find some high-fat, low-carb, “eat clean” low hypoallergenic nutritious side dishes that may accompany the meat & veggies and join the “Party in Your Tummy” as Brobie from Yo Gaba Gaba! pleaded.  Now some of these grain-alternative side dishes might discombobulate you and some you might perceive as being “breakfast-esque,” but remember food is all the same once it is in the stomach.  And who says we must eat certain proscribed foods at a certain designated time of the day.

  • Guacamole

  • Most kids love it and it is super-nutritious.  Mix in some Greek Yogurt to give it some tanginess and probiotics. (See our article on kid-friendly snacks.)
  • Cauliflower Rice

  • Rice made from cauliflower is a big fad right now.  Though it is a veggie in its true definition, the kids will think it is rice!  Drizzle some cheese or condiment to make it more palatable. (See our clean eating pantry article.)
  • “Spaghetti” Squash

  • Similar to cauliflower, if the kids think it is spaghetti let them think it is!  A little deception in the name of clean eating is worth the peccadillo.
  • “Zucchini” Fries

  • Just like the last two, a veggie masquerading as a “fan favorite.”
  • “Ants-on-a-Log”

  • Smother some almond butter on celery (or other vegetable) with raisins on top.  Find a way to incorporate a nut butter into a meal.  High in unsaturated fats and satiating.
  • Hummus

  • Make your own or buy flavors that you know your kids will enjoy.  Low-carb, high-taste!
  • Greek yogurt Bowl

  • (Probiotic, high-fat, high-protein dish.) Throw in berries, cinnamon, nuts, & whatever else pleases you. Think “Brinner” (breakfast at dinner)! (See our recipe here.)
  • Dark chocolate with a big dollop of almond butter

  • Opt for unflavored, 90% variety preferably one that doesn’t have Soy Lecithin as an ingredient.
  • Feta, gorgonzola, blue cheese crumbles

  • Kids love processed or melted cheese!  Just start veering them toward these to expand their palate.
  • Green, blueberry smoothie

    Substitute the “grain substitute” completely and make a nutritious smoothie! (See our recipe here.)

Now I know many of these are unconventional, but look at the overall goal: to get high-nutrient, yet tasty foods into the bellies of your children and to reduced the over-processed, high-simple carbohydrate grains from our diet.  Give these a shot!

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A. Gregory Luna

(We would appreciate your comments below.)

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