How to Make Healthy Pasta for Kids

Healthy Pasta Recipe for KidsPasta happens to be one of the few meals everyone in the house loves! It’s also SO easy that I love it even more! I started off feeding my kids white pasta since it’s easier to chew and usually more appealing to their picky palette. Recently I’ve switched to doing either all whole wheat pasta or half whole wheat and half white and they still love it.

Years ago, when I first switched over to eating whole wheat pasta myself, I didn’t like it but kept at for the health benefits. I discovered that if I added just a quarter to half of wheat pasta to the white pasta that the flavor was infinitely better. I still mix the pastas (I do them in the same pot and just stagger the cooking time accordingly), but this many years later there are a lot more brands on the market with better taste. They really differ in flavor and nutrition so it takes some experimentation to find what works for your taste.

Why is whole wheat so much better than white? Comes down to the same reason many of our foods lose nutritional value – the processing. Wheat has three parts to it; the endosperm, germ and bran. The endosperm is the starchy part of the grain. Wheat germ and wheat bran contain fiber, powerful phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and protein. White flour is made up only of the endosperm, while whole wheat has all three parts in it, making for a more filling, disease-fighting, nutritious meal.

This recipe is similar to one of my favorite salads the grocery store I used to work for served in their deli. Any pasta works, of course – I like to use wheels because my kids are into vehicles of any kind…

Wagon Wheel Pasta

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound pasta
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 head broccoli, or two cups frozen broccoli
  • ½ cup ranch dressing
  • ¼ cup milk or buttermilk
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to directions, however set timer for two minutes less than directions
  2. Add peas to pasta water, and cook for two more minutes
  3. Prepare broccoli (if frozen, add to water with peas or if fresh, steam heads in microwave or stove)
  4. Whisk milk and dressing together
  5. Combine all ingredients and top with freshly grated parmesan

*Cooked chicken is also really good in this dish!