Sunday, April 30, 2017

Cooking with Kids

Kids can be quite the helpers in the kitchen.  And, if they help with the cooking, they are more likely to eat the food served.  So how can you get kids interested in cooking?   Not just for girls but guys also like to cook.  In fact, a well-known blog is written by a mom with 3 sons who are always coming up with new kitchen “crafts” that are edible.  Many other websites have fun suggestions for kids.  Let’s look at some.
This mom posts hundreds of ways she involved her sons in creating fun food “crafts”.  She has ideas for holidays, for parties, for kids crafts and many pictures and recipes.  As most parents find out, kids can be picky eaters.  She started “creating cute characters/animals out of food” to get her sons to try new foods.  She has even written a book, Wild Eats & Adorable Treats with meals and snack ideas for kids.
Here are some of her and her sons’ creations:
Mini Deep Dish Pizzas:  Easy to make individual pizza snacks using muffin tins.  Press mini tortillas into a muffin tin, add some shredded mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce mixed with garlic, oregano, dried basil, more cheese, and top with pepperoni slices.  Bake for 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees.  Makes a great after school snack.  She provides step-by-step instructions and pictures. 
  • 1 8oz. can of Red Gold tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 
  •  1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 12 mini flour tortillas
  • 52 mini pepperoni
  •  8 0z. shredded mozzarella cheese

Another great after school snack and very simple to make. Uses Mozarella Bites, some noodles, carrots and lettuce.  Great way to get some protein and calcium into a snack.  Add some 100% juice and some whole grain crackers for more of a nutrition boost.
  •   Farm Rich Mozzarella Bites
  • Chow Mein Noodles
  • 1 Clementine
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Lettuce

For the face of the caterpillar, she uses some white cheese, black olives and tomato.  But experiment, red pepper could be used for the mouth. 
Have teenagers in the house?  USDA has a free online booklet, Fast Meals & Quick Snacks, a cookbook for teens.  But one has to scroll through a lot of pages to get to the recipes – which start on page 25.      A little out of date because it still references the Food Pyramid which was replaced by MyPlate over 5 years ago.  But the recipes are easy for teens to make and provide a lot of healthy snack options.
Apricot Smoothies –  good way to get some fruit, dairy into a teenager’s day. So many teens are lacking in calcium and vitamin D.  Smoothies are a great way to add these key nutrients to their day. Smoothies are also a healthy snack for adults who often have diets low in calcium and vitamin D. 
3/4 cup Canned apricots, packed in water or light syrup
1/2 cup Orange juice  (make sure it is real juice and not Hi-C or Sunny D or other sugary drink.)
1/2 cup Nonfat or low-fat yogurt
1 1/2 cup Ice cubes (optional)

1. Drain liquid from apricots.
2. Put all ingredients into blender.
3. Blend until smooth, about 4 minutes.
4. Pour into a tall glass

Banana Smoothie -
1 medium Banana
1 cup Low-fat milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Sugar
1 cup Ice cubes (optional)

1. Peel banana and break into pieces.
2. Place all ingredients in a blender.
3. Blend until smooth, about 4 minutes.
4. Pour into a tall glass.

Instead of serving soft drinks loaded with added sugar, how about a spritzer?  A great idea for the hot days of summer that will soon be upon us. 

Lime Spritzer

3/4 cup Frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup Lime juice, bottled or fresh
1 1/2 cups Water
1 1/2 cups Club soda or any unflavored, unsweetened carbonated water

Combine thawed pineapple juice concentrate, lime juice, water, and club soda in a pitcher. Stir with a spoon until the juices are well blended and any frozen juice has dissolved. Pour over ice and enjoy!

So many easy ways to get kids and teens involved in the kitchen and in eating healthier snacks.  Check out both websites for so many great ideas.


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