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Posts Tagged ‘Cooking with children’

Baking with Children

  • twenty20 - BakingPut on aprons. The mess is part of the fun;
  • Older children can crack the eggs and measure wet and dry ingredients, while younger children can participate by pouring the pre-measured ingredients into the mixing bowl;
  • Show children that oil and water don’t mix by letting them stir the mix;
  • Create cut-outs with cookies cutters;
  • Be sure to encourage creativity and imagination when decorating your creations. Use festively colored frostings, sparkly sanding sugars, gumdrops, pre-cut fondant or homespun shapes. These are perfect for little fingers and make wonderful cookie decorations;
  • Don’t forget to taste test your creations;
  • Go with your children to deliver a plate of cookies to a neighbor or the local senior center. Giving and sharing can make children feel good.

Hazelnut Granola Apple Wedges

Does your little one have a craving for a sweet snack? Stay healthy while satisfying your child’s appetite with some hazelnut granola apple wedges!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large apple
  • Hazelnut spread
  • Low-fat granola

Cut the apple into wedges. Holding each wedge by the skin side, spread it with hazelnut spread. Sprinkle granola on hazelnut spread-covered area. Substitute peanut butter (or any nut butter) for hazelnut spread if you’d like. Also feel free to add raisins!

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages. 

Make a Donut Snowman

This little snowman is so easy to make and delicious to eat!

Ingredients:

  • 3 mini powdered donuts
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • 1 chocolate wafer
  • 1 large marshmallow

On a plate, stack the donuts to build the snowman’s body. Decorate the top donut with the mini chocolate chips to create a face. Decorate the middle donut with three mini chocolate chips for buttons. Stack the marshmallow on top of the chocolate wafer and place them on the top donut to finish off your creation with a hat.

Looking for a healthier alternative? Try our banana, pretzel and apple version!

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Easy Halloween S’mores

S’mores are a delicious treat but they usually require a campfire. These simple s’mores can be made without a campfire and are just as yummy!

Ingredients:

  • Graham crackers
  • Chocolate-hazelnut spread
  • Marshmallow crème
  • Black and orange nonpareils

Spread four graham cracker squares with chocolate-hazelnut spread, and spread fourgraham_crackers graham cracker squares with marshmallow crème. Pair off the marshmallow and chocolate-hazelnut squares and sandwich them together. Place them on a microwave-safe plate and microwave them, uncovered, on high for 30 seconds. Once they’re nice and warm, sprinkle the gooey edges in black and orange nonpareils. Then enjoy!

You can also try a peanut butter variation – just use chocolate graham cracker squares instead of traditional ones, and use peanut butter instead of chocolate-hazelnut spread.

Five Ways to Prevent “Summer Slide”

Summer is an awesome time of year. It’s full of family get-togethers, trips to the pool and vacations. With all that awesomeness, though, sometimes learning falls by the wayside. Research has shown that some children experience summer learning loss, also known as “summer slide” because their minds aren’t as engaged as they are during the school year. You can help to keep your child’s brain active and prevent summer slide with these five fun learning activities:

  1. Read, read, read. Read to your child or encourage him to read for twenty minutes every day. Taking a trip to the library on hot, humid or rainy days can be fun, too. Also, listening to audio books is great during car trips.
  2. Learn a new word every week. Make this a game by seeing who can use the new word the most times throughout the week. You can even make a scoreboard and stick it on the fridge. Encourage your child to look through a picture dictionary to pick out new words.
  3. Get cooking. Cooking with your child is a fun way to teach your child math and reading skills as well as how to follow instructions. Look through a cookbook with your little one, and ask him what he would like to make.
  4. Hit the road. Take a field trip to a museum, a zoo or an aquarium. Before you go, read a book with your child about the sights at your destination. When you return, you and your child can write a journal entry about your adventures.
  5. Go outside. Embrace the nice weather and go on a hike, nature walk or bike ride. Pack a magnifying glass and/or binoculars, and take breaks along the way to take a closer look at things. You and your little one can even take notes on interesting objects or animals and look up more information about them online or in an encyclopedia when you get home.

Bento Lunch Mania

What is a bento box?

Bento box lunches have been increasing in popularity among families with preschoolers and school-age children. Google the term “bento box lunch” and you will find a wealth of resources, including blogs, Pinterest pages and online retailers selling basic and whimsical options.  Bento boxes are appealing because they provide a creative way to add a variety of foods to a child’s lunch while keeping wet foods separate from dry foods. If a parent is artistic, the child’s lunch can become a work of art.

The Goddard SchoolWhy does it work well for school lunches?

Bento boxes work well for school lunches and snacks because they protect food in an air-tight container and keep food groups separate. If you have a picky eater who does not like foods touching, a bento box may keep your child happy. Parents can have fun creating different lunchtime masterpieces.  Bento boxes are economical because they are reusable and help keep plastic snack and sandwich bags out of landfills.

What can I put in my child’s bento box?

The options are endless, but here are some ideas:

  • Sliced hard-boiled eggs;
  • A mini-bagel sandwich with almond butter, jelly or another spread;
  • Sliced strawberries, blueberries and kiwis;
  • Cheese cubes;
  • Pretzels;
  • Sliced grapes;
  • A muffin;
  • Mini-pita sandwiches filled with cheese and pepperoni;
  • Sliced pineapple;
  • Celery and carrot sticks;
  • Cucumber slices;
  • A turkey and cheese sandwich on a Hawaiian roll;
  • Veggie chips;
  • Rice molds;
  • Chickpeas and black beans;
  • Raisins and chocolate chips;
  • Sandwich rounds with ham, cheese and avocado.

Enjoy making bento box lunches!

Make Your Own Ice Cream Sandwiches

July is National Ice Cream Month, so what better way to celebrate than with a treat you can make with your children at home?

Graham Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches

If your children love ice cream sandwiches, they can help you make them at home. Break a graham cracker into two squares. One cracker, broken in half, makes one sandwich.  Scoop their favorite flavor of slightly softened ice cream onto one square, and then top it with the other.  Gently push the sandwich together until the ice cream just reaches each edge.  Then, you can dip the edges of the sandwich in sprinkles or chopped-up pieces of candy.  Enjoy them now, or freeze them for a fun summer treat later!

*If you don’t want to use graham crackers, you can make your own sandwich cake. 

Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Pick your child’s favorite kind of cookie. Chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies and snickerdoodles work well, but you can use any kind you like. Either bake them or buy them pre-made. If you use homemade cookies, make sure they have cooled completely before making them into ice cream sandwiches.

You can use either store-bought or homemade ice cream.  Pick your favorite flavor and scoop some ice cream onto one cookie, then top it with the other cookie and gently press the halves of the sandwich together.

Enjoy these sweet treats as they are or roll the edges in sprinkles or chopped-up pieces of candy first!

These are a great birthday party treats, or you can freeze them and save them for a day at the pool or the beach.

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages. 

Let’s Have a Baking Party!

When children create their own birthday treats, it is both fun and a great boost to their self-esteem! So, why not make the cake a canvas for children’s creativity at your child’s next birthday bash? For this fun activity, simply supply the children with plain cupcakes and a selection of icings and toppings and let your little ones and their friends decorate to their hearts’ content!

Another fun and creative baking birthday party activity is making handprint cookies. Just roll out pre-made dough on a clean surface, place each child’s clean hands on the dough and trace their hands with a safe cooking tool, like a butter knife or drink stirrer. After the cookies have baked and cooled, paint each child’s hands with colored frosting and have the children press their hands onto their cookies. This will leave colorful icing handprints on the cookies.

 

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities.  Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Happy Father’s Day: Goodies for Daddy Snack!

This Father’s Day, surprise dad with his own special snack mix! With help from an adult, little ones can mix up their own special creation for dad using a combination of the snack items below (and anything else you think dad might like). Then, decorate a disposable food container with markers, paint and craft supplies to store dad’s special treat!

  • Nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.)
  • Raisins
  • M&M’s®
  • Cheerios®
  • Chex® cereal
  • Small pretzels
  • Teddy Grahams®
  • Small cheese snack crackers
  • Goldfish® crackers

 

When complete, consider writing a little ingredients list for dad to attach to the package, such as: “Ingredients: peanuts (because I’m your peanut), raisins (because you’re so good at raisin’ me), Teddy Grahams (for a big bear hug) and M&M’s (because you’re so sweet).”

Picky Eaters

There is an important distinction between picky eaters who are children and picky eating by children.

Labeling children as ‘picky eaters’ implies that we think of picky eating as a core identity issue, not just a behavior they’re passing through. Whereas, calling the behavior ‘picky eating by children suggests that it’s a natural developmental phase and something to work through.

I’ve yet to hear of, or know, a child that has never hit a food bump. Maybe the same could be said of us parents. In fact, there may be some evolutionary sense to not trusting all the food nature has to offer. Familiar, sweeter and bland foods are less likely than the exotic to poison or make us sick or destroy our appetites.  From a more specific perspective, we’ve begun to understand genetic influences leading toward and away from particular food preferences. Certain children carry genes (which they may not share with their parents) that intensify the reaction to bitter foods, leaving these children with a preference for sweeter foods and drinks in general; not to mention a different palate than their parents.

A few years ago, many nurses and pediatricians noticed a parental ‘bump’ around the introduction of ‘staged’ food menus for prepared infant foods; parents worried that their children weren’t transitioning well from the younger to the older food stages. The source of this reluctance was difficult to verify. Was it hard for children to progress from one stage to the next because of the newer food’s taste, consistency, or was it simply its ‘newness’?  This brings us back around to the picky eating versus picky eater distinction…

Picky eating is common, especially in girls, and can occur with both familiar and unfamiliar foods. Picky eaters are less common, and tend to be reluctant eaters around new foods. Some clinicians are trying out the label ‘neophobia’ to categorize picky eater behavior in younger children as a way of improving research and communication about the phenomenon.  For instance, some researchers have found that pickiness was predicted primarily by environmental or experiential factors subject to changes; neophobia was predicted by more enduring and dispositional factors.  (Galloway, A. T., Lee, Y., Birch, L. L. (2003). Predictors and consequences of food neophobia and pickiness in young girls, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103(6), 692-698.).

There are some things that you can do to help your child’s food bump from becoming a pothole:

1)    Your infants and toddlers are such social beings; they are pre-wired to be interested in how you treat your food. New foods will be more acceptable to your toddler if they’ve seen you or another adult they care about eating it regularly. And that positive effect is increased if your talk (with feeling) about what you like about the food. Interestingly, if you eat more fruits and vegetables, even when your child is not watching, your child will be more likely to accept food.

2)    Match up familiar with the unfamiliar. Hummus or yogurt dips that your child already likes can be paired with the new zucchini slice or broccoli floret.

3)    Never pressure or rush to introduce new foods, and only introduce one new food at a time.

4)    Introduce new foods when your child is actually hungry – forcing a new food on a diminished appetite is going to be less successful.

5)    Give it time – most children, and their parents, grow through this phase.