I can walk into almost any restaurant and guess exactly what’s on the kids' menu without even looking, and I bet you can too! It's possible to offer some healthy options on this menu without chasing away your youngest clients.

There are several benefits to providing a healthier kids' menu: parents feel better about eating at your place, children broaden their taste horizons, and we help maintain the health of our future customers. You can even introduce superfoods into the menu without being overly obvious.

Superfoods are nutrient rich with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is a diverse list, but a good clue is any produce item with a deep rich color. Here are a couple of recipes to get you on your way.

The first features kale and, yes, while this sturdy green does make an excellent decoration on the buffet, it is also a nutritional powerhouse, like many other dark leafy greens. Make the pesto below and toss with your favorite Piancone® or Assoluti® pasta for a new favorite. The second recipe features carrots hidden in marinara sauce. Being naturally sweet, carrots are easy to mix into other foods and are actually good for your eyes, particularly your night vision. Finally, a modern household classic pumped up with fresh blueberries. Any list of superfoods will almost always place blueberries near the top in health benefits!

Kale Pesto

  • 2 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 cup fresh packed basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a food processor, combine the kale leaves, basil leaves, and salt. Pulse 10 to 12 times until chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the processor. Add the walnuts and garlic and process again, and then add the cheese and pulse to combine. Toss with pasta and serve.

Carrot Enriched Marinara

  • 2 ½ lbs. carrots – peeled and diced
  • Salt
  • Water
  • 1 can Piancone Marinara Sauce

Bring the salt and water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook until soft. Drain all but ½ cup of water. Puree the carrots and water. Add the marinara and stir. Heat as needed.

Blueberry Treats

  • ½  tablespoon butter
  • 6 oz. marshmallow
  • 3 cups rice cereal
  • 1 ¼ cup fresh blueberries

Melt the butter and marshmallow over a medium heat. Stir in the cereal and blueberries. Press into a buttered loaf pan and let cool. Remove and slice.

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