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Healthy kid-friendly recipes: Mac & cheese muffins, pancakes and cookies

Joy Bauer bakes macaroni and cheese muffin cups, adds protein to pancakes and lightens up oatmeal cookies to make better-for-you comfort foods.
/ Source: TODAY

If you're looking to get your kids to eat more wholesome and nutritious foods (who isn't?!), then this week's Superfood Friday is for you! With youngsters in mind, I create three kid-friendly dishes that are packed with the good stuff: vitamins, minerals and antioxidants! And trust me: Even picky eaters won't be able to resist these delicious dishes.

Blender Strawberry Protein Pancakes

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

These sweet and satisfying protein pancakes can help your kiddos grow big and strong. Huge bonus: they're a cinch to whip up (and then clean up) — all you need is a blender and a skillet. Thanks to a few sneaky ingredients, each one provides protein, fiber, bone-strengthening calcium and immune-boosting vitamin C. Kids of all ages (1 to 100!) will flip for these flapjacks ... and that's a pinky-promise.

Get the recipe here.

Mac and Cheese Muffins

Mac and cheese is a favorite in the Bauer house, so I'm constantly experimenting with different variations to keep it fresh and flavorful. In this rendition, I utilize nutrient-rich legume pasta (made from chickpeas, lentils or black beans) because they contain about double the protein and triple the fiber compared to most standard noodles. Then, I kick things up a few notches by baking 'em in a muffin tin to create portion-sized delights that are crunchy on the outside and ooey-gooey cheesy on the inside. Good-for-you mac and cheese that your kids can devour with their hands — what's not to love?

Soft-Baked Chocolate-Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Finicky eaters will go cuckoo for these soft and chewy cookies. They're scrumptious, wholesome, and a two-cookie serving delivers a shot of protein and fiber for only 150 calories. Whole-grain flour and rolled oats bump up the fiber, while the combo of dark chocolate chips and sweet cherries provides a double dose of antioxidants. The best part? This recipe is 100% kid- and Cookie Monster-approved.

Get the recipe here.

For healthy tips, follow Joy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and check out her upcoming kid's book "Yummy Yoga."

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