As February gets underway many of us will consider eating well at the top of our resolution list. And wouldn’t we all love to have healthier foods on the menu for our kiddos as well? Of course we would! But surely it isn’t that simple… because plenty of our young friends are expert food inspectors, and dare I say…a tad picky. So what is the quick fix? Well, one great way to get some healthy and tasty foods into those tummies is to get your children in the kitchen cooking with you. Not only is cooking fun for kids, it can help instill a sense of pride when they have prepared something for themselves. The benefits don’t stop there; cooking can help instill math skills and language development in our young friends, and even boost family bonding. For more amazing benefits of cooking with children, visit the blog Mommy University.
To get you started in the kitchen, here are some of my favorite recipes to make with kids!
Silly-Face Pizzas: Kids will love spreading sauce and picking their toppings for a fun and tasty meal they made all by themselves.
What you need: Whole wheat English muffins (cut in half), pizza sauce, reduced- fat mozzarella cheese, your choice of veggies to make fun faces (olives, bell peppers and tomatoes work well). Full recipe and baking instructions here.
Frozen Yogurt Fruit Bark: Great for breakfast or a snack, this colorful and fresh treat will have your kids excited to pitch in and get fruity!
What you need: A baking sheet, parchment paper, low-fat yogurt of your choice, fruit and granola. Visit this blog for more recipes and directions.
Tortilla Roll-Ups: The most versatile and fun way to have a meal is rolling up all those tasty ingredients in a tortilla. Your kiddos will love making these for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
What you need: whole wheat tortillas, turkey, cheese and veggies. Let the kiddos get creative with hummus, avocados and other tasty additions! For a gluten free option, try substituting tortillas for bib lettuce. Be sure to check out this website for more roll-up inspiration.
Egg & Veggie Muffins: These little muffins pack a savory, protein punch. Kiddos will love adding ingredients, pouring and mixing to put together this satisfying snack that they made themselves.
What you need: flour, milk, eggs, vegetables of your choosing (spinach, corn and tomato are in this one!), cheese (optional), salt and pepper, a bowl, a whisk and a muffin tin. Full recipe and baking instructions here.
Rainbow Pasta Salad: Pasta salad is a colorful and tasty way to use up leftovers in your fridge. They are also a great way to get a serving of veggies in without the fuss. Kids will love picking their favorite ingredients to add and mixing all those pretty colors together.
What you need: (For the image above) cooked and cooled pasta such as tricolor rotini or bowtie pasta, red yellow and green bell peppers, olives, onion, pepperoni and Italian dressing. Check the full recipe here.
I hope these simple and healthy recipes will inspire you to get your kids in the kitchen and put fun and nutritious meals at the top of your to-do list! Don’t forget to visit us at San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum for some more hands-on experiences with food at Jimbo’s Garden Workshop, held the first Friday of every month at 11 am where kiddos can craft some tasty snacks.
About the blogger: Gigi is an educator at San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum. As a daycare teacher, Gigi loved giving the kiddos in her class a chance to work with food. She found that not only were they more willing to try new things when they had helped make it, but they enjoyed the process and picked up countless valuable skills along the way. Measuring, fine motor coordination and language development to name a few.