Cooking with your kids is both fun and rewarding. Not only is cooking with your kids a great way to spend time together and bond as parent and child, kids who cook often actually eat healthier. If a child has a hand in preparing a particular dish, he or she is much more likely to taste it, even if it’s full of vegetables! Just getting a child to try something is typically the hardest battle. Try these fun recipes and ideas to get you started and make cooking with your kids an enjoyable and meaningful time.
- Deviled Eggs in a Bag. Deviled eggs are a great source of protein for growing bodies. To make mess-free deviled eggs all you need are hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, and zippered top bags. Once the eggs are boiled and cooled, peel them. Carefully slice the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolk. Add one yolk to the bag. Next add 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise, 1/8 teaspoon of mustard, a dash of salt, and a dash of pepper. Seal the bag thoroughly and squish the ingredients together to combine. This is fun for kids and adults! Once the ingredients are well mixed, squeeze the mixture to one bottom corner of the bag. Snip the corner off using scissors, and squeeze the contents out into your egg white halves. Voila! You have simple, delicious, no-mess deviled eggs!
- Ice Cream in a Bag. While ice cream is indeed a higher fat food, it is also high in calcium, which strengthens growing bones. This simple ice cream is so much fun to make and doesn’t have all of the preservatives and other junk that is often found on the ingredient list of commercial ice creams. To a quart sized zipped top bag add ½ cup half and half, 1 tablespoon white sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla. In a gallon sized zippered top bag, add ice cubes and salt (rock salt works well, but table salt is okay too). Place the quart sized bag (well sealed) inside the ice filled gallon sized bag. Now, shake, knead, and jiggle the bags for about 10 minutes. Eventually your ingredients will harden and you will have ice cream! You may want to wrap the bag in a hand towel to keep your fingers from freezing while you shake it. Remove the quart sized bag, wipe it off with a towel, and cut a corner to squeeze out the contents. This makes one serving, but you can always double the ingredients to make two.
- Holiday Pudding Cups. These fun treats can be adapted to any holiday or special occasion, are low in fat, and are high in calcium. You will need chocolate pudding cups, chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreos), and various “decorations” depending on the holiday. Place one or two cookies in a zippered top bag and crush thoroughly. Once crushed, sprinkle them onto the opened pudding cup. Now you have your base and it’s time to get creative! For Halloween, try adding some gummy worms to the “dirt,” or adding “tombstones” made from graham crackers. For Easter, try dying some flake coconut green to act as grass, and then sprinkling on some jelly beans. For a spring or summer event, you could add fake flowers so the base looks like a centerpiece, but could actually be eaten! Work together with your child or children to come up with imaginative ideas for this one.
- Fruit Smoothies. Most kids love fruit smoothies. This is a great way to get just about anyone to eat more fruit! Try this simple recipe, and then make your own creations. Simply add to a blender, 1 small can pineapple juice, ½ cup frozen strawberries, ¼ cup frozen blueberries, 1 peeled and chopped kiwi, and 1 sliced banana. Now let the blender rip! While you’re making this one, you can teach you child about measuring ingredients, and using a knife and cutting board. Have your son or daughter serve the smoothies to other family members, friends, or neighbors.