Encouraging children to explore the kitchen and learn how to make meals or snacks early on is a wonderful way to help embed healthy habits that will last a life time. It will also give them something to do during this particularly chilly Spring Break!
Below are some fun modifications you can use to make cooking a bit easier for you and your kiddo:
- Chopping or cutting —> tearing and shredding
- Kids can easily tear up lettuce and herbs for a yummy salad! It brings out the aroma of the herbs, and it helps them practice their fine motor skills.
- Mincing or puréeing –> mashing and bashing
- If a recipe calls for a banana puree or fine bread crumbs, place small pieces into a zip-loc bag and allow your kids to bash them up! The banana is fun to squish and mash with your hands through the bag, and the crackers/bread crumbs are fun to break apart with a toy hammer!
- Kitchen action items that need no modification
- Whisking, mixing, measuring, rolling, stirring, seasoning, and more!
Better yet, use a recipe that your child can make themselves! Our students wanted to share two of their favorites, but the sky is the limit!
- 2 celery ribs, washed and peeled
- peanut butter, almond butter, sun-butter, Wow-butter, or cream cheese
- granola (try to find a pre-made version that has as little added sugar as possible, or make a day of it and make some together)
- Put the celery sticks on a plate. Two full celery stalks is a good serving size for one child.
- Using a spoon, scoop some peanut butter from the jar into the celery sticks until they are full.
- Sprinkle the peanut butter with granola. Enjoy!
This snack has a protein containing healthy fat, a serving of veggies, and a nutritious portion of granola which will keep your child feeling full for a few hours. It’s also fun to make!
- 1/2 cup yogurt, non-fat vanilla (watch out for added sugars!)
- 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
- 1 tablespoon raisins (seedless)
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon nuts OR some of the delicious coconut granola you made earlier 😉
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Eat and enjoy!
You can buy all of these ingredients and leave them in your fridge and cabinets until they’re ready for use. Your kids can also modify this recipe to their liking (like adding fresh apples on top!)
What are you going to make today?
This article was written by SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator Catie Simpson as well as two Healthy Bodies Project Lab Assistants–Ellie Manca and Krysta Villarosa.