Parenting

Kids in the Kitchen: 6 Healthy, Delicious Snacks and Meals They Can Help Prepare

For moms, providing the best possible nutrition for their little ones is the top priority. As babies grow to become toddlers and school-age children, nutritious food and beverages emerge as the most crucial factors in helping children’s minds and bodies develop to their full potential.

As such, moms take great care to do their research and compare ingredients, brands, and recipes to ensure that every bite of food gives their kids as many growth-boosting nutrients as possible.

This is something you are highly likely to have experienced yourself as a mother — flipping through childcare books, scrolling through websites to find the best organic baby foods and toddler snacks, and asking your friends and family for advice on planning a balanced diet for kids.

However, in your determination to load the dinner table with tasty, healthy treats, you might miss out on an experience that can make a world of difference within your household.

Rather than puttering around the kitchen all day plating meals and packing snacks, why not let your little ones help you whip up your next meal?

Getting kids in the kitchen

You may be serving the most nutritious foods, but that’s no guarantee that your kids will automatically wolf them down.

Toddlers and school-age children are discovering ingredients and flavors that they do and don’t like, which means mealtimes at home can often become a negotiation, if not an all-out war, as to what will make your kids’ tableware.

One of the best ways to help little ones warm up to a variety of foods is to involve kids in the food preparation process.

Try it a few times each week and watch — you may soon observe your kids becoming more willing to try broccoli if they helped cut them (under your supervision, of course) to make them look like ‘little trees,’ for example, or being happy to finish a whole blueberry or banana-carrot muffin if they helped you scoop the batter into the baking tins.

Eager to get your kids eating healthier by recruiting them to be part of your kitchen crew?

Here are some easy ideas for tasty but healthy meals and snacks that your kids can help you make:

1. Chicken and Swiss Cheese Quiche

With your help, kids can cut the chicken and vegetables into small cubes and grate the cheese.

They’ll be fascinated with mixing them all together with eggs and watching them bake in the oven. It’s a fun, yummy breakfast item to share with the whole family.

2. Homemade Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza? Kids will be especially excited to eat them when they get to prepare the ingredients and assemble them on their own.

Just make sure they agree to include a couple of healthy toppings, such as sliced bell peppers or mushrooms, to add to the toppings they like.

3. Soup

Whether you’re making clear soup, creamy chowder, or hearty minestrone, let your kids take over the soup-stirring duties, and they’ll be sure to help themselves to anything that’s in the soup pot.

To sneak in plenty of nutritious items, you can finely grate or mince carrots, peppers, zucchini, and other vegetables and throw them into the pot before you hand over the ladle to your little ones.

4. Salad on Crackers

Kids may be hesitant to try salads like egg salad or tuna salad, but you can enlist their help in putting it together so they’ll know what’s in it.

Afterward, you can get them to spoon the salad onto crackers for fun and tasty bites. You can also turn them into sandwiches — spoon the salad between two pieces of bread, use cookie cutters to form shapes and watch them pop those salad sandwiches into their mouths.

5. Creamy Fruit Popsicles

Kids love cool treats, and popsicles are no exception. Add a healthier twist to these pops by using organic yogurt instead of sugary ice cream and their favorite choice of diced fruit.

A yogurt-based beverage fortified with vitamins and minerals will support your child’s nutritional needs, offer a unique blend of probiotics to boost the immune system, and introduce healthy fats essential for brain and visual development.

6. One-Bowl Banana Bread

While most banana bread recipes will leave your sink with a high stack of dirty dishes, spoons and measuring cups, this one requires only a single bowl and maybe a set of little helping hands.

Lay out the ingredients and let your kids mash the bananas, measure the flour, and mix everything together. They’ll jump at the opportunity to add in their choice of chocolate chips, raisins, or nuts.

Turning Mealtime Into Quality Time

With these simple meal ideas, you’ll find it easier than ever to get your kids eating healthy, delicious fare — and what’s more, you’ll be spending lots of fun quality time with the kids in the kitchen, too.

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