Kentuckiana moms take pride in being gastronomic masters. Louisvillians grow up munching on delectable goodies at the Brown Hotel, the Cafe, and Kingfish. The Appalachian children are fondly familiar with the Blue Raven, Red River Rockhouse, and Snug Hollow Farm Bed & Breakfast. Although some Kentucky cuisines are hearty, like burgoo, many can be sinfully tasty. Use these simple ideas for surprising ways to make these 6-friendly foods healthier.
Crown Derby Pie With Yogurt
The Kentucky Derby pie is chocolatey as it is, but topping it with whipped cream or ice cream makes it even more sugary. Using yogurt instead is a healthy twist.
This superfood is rich in vitamins B2, B6 and B12, calcium, potassium and magnesium that help strengthen your little ones’ teeth and bones. It can also contain probiotics — living bacteria — for gut health, enhancing nutrient absorption and aiding digestion. These good bacteria are immunity boosters, too.
Yogurt is fermented milk, so it has a distinct sour taste. It counterbalances the pastry’s sweetness. Some yogurts contain added sugar and are fruit-flavored, potentially making your baked treat more honeyed.
Go with plain Greek yogurt, so you don’t have to watch for additional sugar content. Apart from having minimal sugar, it contains almost 200% more protein than regular yogurt.
Swap Butter for a Heartier Alternative
Butter’s saturated fat isn’t as bad as trans fat but is only healthy in moderation. Consuming too much of it can increase your children’s cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
If your kids love spoonbread, strongly consider a healthier substitute for butter to keep your young ones hale and hearty while enjoying their favorite Southern baked dish regularly. Olive oil is the first that comes to mind.
Unlike butter — an animal derivative — olive oil comes from a plant, so it’s a source of monounsaturated fat. Switching from a saturated fat-heavy diet to a monosaturated-fat one helps curb obesity without decreasing calorie count. This oil also has antioxidants for heart health and cancer defense, so it’s a must-use when preparing healthy foods for kids.
Olive oil introduces a new flavor profile to the typically buttery spoonbread. Its strong taste can be off-putting to Southern palates, so feel free to use a milder variety to render its potency less noticeable.
Generally, the proper ratio is ¾ cup of olive oil for every cup of butter. Observing this disproportion matters when replacing a solid ingredient with a liquid one to ensure your bread remains moist.
Dip Veggie Snacks in Benedictine
The Benedictine spread can mask the undesirable flavor or texture of various wholesome vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and leafy greens. Its mild flavor complements the natural taste of chopped fresh produce, perfecting a refreshing snack.
When preparing homemade Benedictine, use cream cheese with less fat and add basil, dill and other herbs to cut calories and enhance its taste.
Top the Hot Brown Sandwich With Mushroom
Bacon may be good for the soul but is terrible for the heart. This processed meat is fatty, salty and high-cholesterol, so think twice before you include it in your children’s diets.
The bad news is that it’s hard not to lay off eating bacon when enjoying the Hot Brown sandwich. The good news is that you can use mushrooms to cook healthy foods for kids without them noticing the difference.
Mushroom bacon is as smokey and crispy as the real thing. This vegan option also looks the part, tricking the eyes of long-time bacon lovers. Store-bought products are widely available, but you can easily make some at home. All you need are Shiitake mushrooms, olive oil and salt to recreate the star of this famed Kentucky open-faced sandwich.
In addition, combine healthier cheeses when making the sauce. Fresh mozzarella is one of your best bets because its sodium content is only 17 milligrams per ounce of serving. Better yet, use vegan dairy cheese alternatives like nutritional yeast.
Pair Owensboro Mutton BBQ With Fresh Sides
Serving vegetables instead of carb-loaded or store-bought side dishes will make mutton barbecue healthier for your children without tweaking the time-honored recipe of Western Kentucky’s grilled symbol. The tastiest lamb companions are:
- Baby zucchini and carrots with thyme and orange
- Baked asparagus with parmesan
- Charred sweet potatoes with chili-roasted pistachio pesto
- Fried green beans with tomatoes, raw summer squash and crushed walnuts
- Roasted broccoli with olive tapenade
- Roasted Mediterranean veggies
- Roasted whole carrots
- Rosemary-roasted potatoes
If you plan to do your take on the Owensboro mutton BBQ, use healthier cooking oil for your mop sauce and let it drip away from the meat while smoking it.
Air-Fry Rolled Oysters
An air fryer allows you to cook rolled oysters to perfection, crisping the coating while the seafood filling remains tender. The best part is that it can brown your clumps of oysters in less than 10 minutes at a fraction of the oil a deep fryer uses.
An air fryer’s cooking oil must have a high smoke point. The canola oil fits the bill, but consider healthier alternatives — such as avocado oil, extra light olive oil and soybean oil.
Avocado oil has a smoke point of nearly 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s the most suitable option for high-heat cooking. It has a neutral flavor but will lend a creamy texture and a green tint to rolled oysters.
Try These Healthy Foods for Your Kids
Doing these ideas means not following classic Kentucky recipes to a T. Slightly breaking with tradition is a small sacrifice to serve heartier meals, so recreate these iconic dishes with your children’s wellness in mind.