{     Offering the Best Childhood Preparation for Social and Academic Success.     }

Posts Tagged ‘Lunch’

Learning through Meal Prepping: Five Benefits of Encouraging Children to Pack Their Own Lunches

mealprep-4-8-19

Letting children assist with packing their own lunches can be beneficial. You can teach your children about responsibility and portion control and boost their creativity and decision-making skills by inviting your children into the kitchen with you for a lesson. Here are five benefits of allowing children to help prepare their own lunches.

It emphasizes portion control. Bento-box lunch containers are an easy and exceptionally helpful tool for teaching your child about portion sizes and meal organization. When your children select their lunch items with you, provide them with a bento-box container and explain what healthy meal portions look like. They can use the bento box to pack their lunches, which helps them visualize and be aware of the portion sizes they are packing.

It introduces the importance of nutrition. Your children’s favorite go-to treats, such as fruit snacks and cookies, don’t necessarily make some of the healthiest snacks. When they’re in the kitchen with you, teach them about what the key food groups are and how those food groups keep their minds and bodies well nourished. Provide different vegetables, fruits, proteins, grains and dairy products, and let them choose what to put into their lunch bags. Guide them to pack meals with all the food groups.

It aids in independent learning and decision making. When your children are preparing their lunches with you in the kitchen, give them options for what to pack. Allow them to choose from two or three different things. Do they want a chicken sandwich, a turkey sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Do they want carrots or cucumbers? Do they want strawberries, apples or grapes? Once they decide, let them gather and pack their choices, and then help them focus on the next food group. Once you establish a routine, they will make quicker decisions. Picking their own meals lets them feel independent and accomplished.

It boosts creativity and introduces the art of cooking.
Getting your children into the kitchen at a young age helps them start cooking and learning the steps it takes to create a meal. Instead of providing them with premade and wrapped turkey sandwiches, let them make some with you. Start by letting them select the bread, get out the condiments and select the meat, cheese and toppings they want on their delicious sandwiches. This shows them how much time, effort, creativity and skill it takes to make a proper lunch.

It teaches responsibility, routines and time management. Whether you pack meals after dinner or after your children get home from school, make sure to schedule a meal-preparation time that works best for your family. Meet in the kitchen at your designated time, and start preparing the lunches. By establishing a routine, such as meeting every night or twice a week at 7 PM, you will be familiarizing your children with following a schedule, helping them plan meals. If you want to make meal preparation more fun, consider getting a small chalkboard or whiteboard to keep in your kitchen. Have your children write out the days of the week and the foods they want in their lunchboxes each day. This can keep you organized, and it encourages your children to start planning meals.

Bento Box 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. If a parent is artistic, the child’s lunch can become a work of art.

Why does it work well for school lunches?

Bento boxes work well for school lunches and snacks because they protect food in a sealed 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 also economical because they are reusable and help keep plastic snack and sandwich bags out of landfills.

What are the nutritional benefits of bento boxes?

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. By introducing different, healthy foods early in your child’s life, he or she may develop a preference for those foods as well as a more diverse palate. You can also turn the preparation of the bento box into a learning activity by asking your child what each food is, where it comes from, how it’s made and so on. Engaging your child in the experience may help to build and reinforce a child’s love of diverse, nutritious foods while fostering a love of learning.

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!

Peanut-Free Snacks for School

download (2).png

A peanut allergy is a serious thing and it’s become increasingly common, so more and more schools are starting to play it safe by prohibiting peanuts in kids’ lunches and snacks. Keeping lunchtime truly safe for all kids requires more than just taking old standbys like PB&J off the menu. But it’s hard to know what’s safe to send, especially when confusing labeling and sometimes unclear manufacturing practices make navigating the murky waters of allergy-safe snack foods especially tricky.

Fortunately, there are tons of yummy lunchbox-friendly packaged snacks on the market that are totally peanut-free, meaning they weren’t made with peanuts OR manufactured in a plant where peanuts have been used.

To make things super easy on you, we’ve taken the guesswork out of figuring out which packaged snacks you can and can’t send into a peanut-free lunchroom, with a monster list of goodies—some tried and true, some brand new—all of which are totally peanut-free and delicious.

Cheesy snacks:

These are so often a hit and the ever-popular Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, Annie’s Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies, Cheese Nips, and Kraft Handi-snacks are all peanut-free and available in convenient single-serve packages. Another cheesy winner is Pirate Booty, a cheese-dusted puffed rice and corn snack made by Pirate Brands, which also puts out several other yummy nut-free snacks, such as Veggie Booty, Tings, Smart Puffs, and Soy Crisps.

Chips:

While we can’t really endorse snacking on potato chips every day, we also can’t deny that sometimes there’s just nothing better than a salty chip. Several varieties of Utz, Wise, Herr’s, Cape Cod, Pringles, and Ruffles potato chips are peanut-free, including plain/original and BBQ (check the packaging on other flavors).

For an equally delicious and super nutritious chip choice, check out Beanfields bean and rice tortilla chips, available in 1.5 oz single serve bags. They’re full of protein and fiber and come in seven yummy flavors (Sea Salt, Nacho, Pico de Gallo, Barbecue, Ranch, Salt & Pepper, and Unsalted). And no need to worry about peanuts—they’re so careful about contamination at Beanfields they don’t even let their team read Peanuts comics in the break room.

Applesauce and Packaged Fruit:

Of course, we all know that fresh fruit is an ideal choice when it comes to healthy snacking, but there are times when prepackaged produce just works better on the go. Motts individual packages of applesauce, GoGo Squeez pouches, and fruit cups by DelMonte, are all sweet peanut-free options. We also love the convenience, crunch, and fruity deliciousness of Crispy Green freeze-dried fruit. With fun flavors like Asian pear, cantaloupe, and tangerine (as well as the usual suspects, including apple and banana) it’s a fun, peanut-free way to snack.

Pretzels:

A school snack staple, pretzels are a great, safe option for a peanut-free lunchroom. Many popular brands such as Newman’s Own, PepperidgeFarm, Herr’s, Utz, Bachman, and Rold Gold are peanut-free and come in convenient lunch-sized packaging.

For a fun twist (get it?) on pretzel snacking, try Pretzilla soft pretzel bites. Available in a 12.3 oz tub or convenient 4 oz single-serve packages, they’re a great choice on their own or paired with a nut-free dip, such as hummus, ranch dip, or alongside Sunbutter’s on the go single cups (it smells like peanut butter, it spreads like peanut butter, it even tastes a whole lot like peanut butter—no wonder it’s the only non-peanut butter that’s part of the national school lunch system). Pretzilla also makes mini buns, which are perfect for snack-sized sandwiches.

Popcorn:

Whole grain, high fiber, and super munchable, popcorn rarely fails the kid test. Individual-sized bags in tons of flavors from brands like Utz, Herr’s, Smartfood, Divvies, and SkinnyPop are handy, school-safe lunchbox toss-ins. And popcorn chips, which are more or less what they sound like—popcorn turned into a chip (well, kind of; they’re corn chips that are air-popped)—are also a great nut-free snack option for popcorn lovers. Look for Popcorners, Safe + Fair Popcorn Quinoa Chips, and My Super Pops, adorable mini popcorn chips in Honey BBQ, White Cheddar, and Kettle from newcomer My Super Foods, a company founded and run by two moms, who were inspired to create nourishing snacks for their own children.

Bars:

Granola bars and snack bars are such a no-brainer when it comes to packing snacks for the school day. They’re portable, single-serve, and usually chock-full of fiber, protein, and healthy fat. But, more often than not, they’re a veritable nut fest or, at the very least, are manufactured near other products that contain nuts.

So what kind of granola bars or snack bars are okay for nut-free snacking? Lots, as it turns out! Cascadian Farm Granola Bars (Chocolate Chip or Vanilla Chip), Don’t Go Nuts Energy Bars (Boogie Board Bash, Gorilla Power, Whitewater Chomp, Blueberry Blast, Celestial Campout, Lift Service), Enjoy Life Baked Chewy Bars and Soft Baked Bars (Caramel Apple, Mixed Berry, Sunseed Crunch, Cocoa Loco, Caramel Blondie, Carrot Cake, Lemon Blueberry Poppyseed), Made Good Granola Bars (Mixed Berry, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Banana, Apple Cinnamon, Strawberry), and Envirokidz Granola Bars and Crispy Rice Bars (Strawberry, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate, Berry Blast) to name but a few!

Zego, another company offering tons of snack bars, including Fruit + Chia Bars (Blueberry, Raspberry, Strawberry), Just Fruit Bars (Blueberry, Cherry, Pear, Raspberry, Strawberry), and Organic Seed + Fruit Bar (Apple Cinnamon, Fudgy Chocolate, Lemon Ginger, Sunflower Date) not only excludes the most common allergens from all of their products, they also test every batch at the end of production for traces of allergens and pesticides. They even include a QR code on all of their packaging that consumers can scan to see results of their testing.

Dairy Snacks:

 Yogurt, cheese, and bottled smoothies are great for growing kids. They’re packed with calcium and are usually peanut-free. Look for string cheese by Horizon Organic, Kraft, Organic Valley, Sargento, Sorrento, Land O Lakes, Tilamook, and Finlandia, all of which are safe for peanut-free schools.

Laughing Cow and Mini Babybel cheese wheels are another convenient, single-serve cheese option worth seeking out. Yogurt in its many forms—squeezable, drinkable and spoonable—works, too, especially when you shop for brands with less sugar, fewer artificial ingredients, and no high fructose corn syrup, like Annie’s Homegrown, Happy Family, and Stonyfield Farms. Keep an eye out for Stonyfield’s newest peanut-free lunchbox-ready snack packs. They’re yogurt and dippers in 5 delish flavor combinations: Strawberry & Chocolate Chip Cookie, Vanilla & Chocolate Cookie, Strawberry & Graham Crackers. Chocolate & Graham Crackers. Chocolate & Pretzel. No spoon required!

Treats:

From cookies to cupcakes to candy there’s actually plenty to choose from in the peanut-free treat universe. Good news if you have a classroom birthday party coming up! Enjoy Life Foods, a leading brand in the “free-from” category, makes popular soft-baked and crunchy cookies in enough flavors to please just about anyone. Fig Newtons, Nabisco Ginger Snaps, Oreos, and Barnum’s Animal Crackers are also safe choices.

Smashmallow has recently introduced Smash Crispy crispy rice treats (Strawberries & Cream, Cinnamon Churro, and Mint Chocolate Chip), a better-for-you lunchbox treat that’s non-GMO and gluten-free. School Safe and Divvies are reliable for cupcakes. And as for candy, there’s definitely something for everyone.

Gummy and jelly bean devotees can look for Black Forest gummies and fruit snacks, Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, and Surf Sweets, which offers a lower-guilt product that’s made with natural, non-GMO ingredients, free from harmful additives. There’s good news for little chocolate lovers, too—Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops, and Junior Mints are all completely peanut-free as are all of the products manufactured by Vermont Nut Free Chocolates (their chocolate covered pretzels work well as a little lunchtime treat) and No Whey Chocolate, whose products are free from all 8 of the most common allergens. Give their Pea “Not” Butter Cups a try!

Just one note: be sure to pay close attention to the wording on snack packaging, since most brands print a warning statement or allergen list. Keep an eye out for phrases like: “May Contain Peanut or Tree Nuts”; “Manufactured in a plant with Peanut or Tree Nuts”; “Contains Peanut or Tree Nut Ingredients”
 

 

This article was written by Suzy Scherr from Parents and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

9 Wholesome Recipes Made Fun for Kids

download (4).png

Kids will love preparing these foods as much as they will eating them.

Getting your kids to eat healthy can be tricky. Which is why Shannon Seip and Kelly Parthen, the duo behind Bean Sprouts Cafe, created playful and imaginative meals that get children excited about eating healthy. In their new cookbook Bean Sprouts Kitchen, Shannon and Kelly share 60 recipes the whole family can prepare and enjoy together. Bean Sprouts Kitchen comes out November 6, 2018, but you can make nine of their fun and wholesome meals any day.

Grilledzilla

Make sure the ends of googly-eyed Grilledzilla’s mouth are pointing up in a slight smile, so he doesn’t scare anyone away.

Cooking spray
2 slices cheddar cheese
¼ cup (30 g) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 zucchini rounds
2 olive slices

  1. Preheat skillet over medium heat.
  2. Spray cooking spray on one slice of bread. Flip over and layer one slice of cheddar, shredded mozzarella, and the other slice of cheddar cheese. Top with other slice of bread and spray the top slice of bread with cooking spray.
  3. Grill sandwich in pan until lightly browned and flip over; continue grilling until cheese is melted.
  4. Cut a zigzag line through the bottom third of the sandwich. Place zucchini rounds at the top of the sandwich and top with olives for eyes.

Bean appétit!

Makes 1 Grilledzilla

Bean There, Ate That
Give your Grilledzilla some zip with these additional combos:
• Turkey + Mayonnaise + Cheddar cheese + Apple slices
• Grilled chicken slices + BBQ sauce + Gruyere cheese

Dino S’mores

 

Dino S'mores

 

Your whole family can work together to create this edible prehistoric scene.

Photo: The Quarto Group

We’ve found chocolate to be a much friendlier tar pit for our prehistoric pals.

¾ cup (94 g) whole wheat flour
½ cup (63 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (28 g) ground flax meal
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup (56 g) butter, softened
¼ cup (60 g) packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons (60 g) honey
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup (60 ml) milk (of your choice)
1 cup (175 g) chocolate chips
2 green pears

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Waxed paper
Rolling pin
Dinosaur cookie cutters
Child scissors

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Mix the flours, flax meal, baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to blend the butter, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla extract until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add milk. Stir until blended.
  4. Place dough on a piece of waxed paper. Flatten into a big circle and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  5. On a floured surface, roll the dough to about ¼-inch (6 mm) thick. Press the dinosaur cookie cutters in the dough. Place shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
  6. Melt the chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Spoon 2 tablespoons (28 g) of melted chocolate on a small piece of waxed paper and quickly place a dinosaur upright in each chocolate glob.
  7. Place the dinosaurs and chocolate in the freezer, until the chocolate hardens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully peel off the chocolate tar pits from the waxed paper and stand dinosaurs upright on a plate.
  8. Cut pears into slices, and cut slices into tree shapes for the background. Use the pear slices in place of marshmallows for fruit-filled s’mores.

Makes 10 to 12 Dino S’mores

Behind the beans
Many of the science centers and museums where Bean Sprouts cafés are located offer dinosaur exhibits. We even call our fossil friends Bean Names, like “Pea-Rex,” “Tri-Carrot Tops,” and “Eggasaurus.”

Xylofun

 

Xylofun

 

This sweet tasting dish will have your child forgetting they’re eating vegetables.

Photo: The Quarto Group

Try multicolored carrots to make this dish really ring.

Cooking spray
8 carrots
1½ teaspoons (7 g) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure maple syrup
⅛ teaspoon salt
12 capers
2 pitted olives (optional)
Cooking spray

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Pastry brush (optional)
Lollipop sticks (optional)
Child scissors

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Peel the carrots. Carefully slice in halves lengthwise.
  3. Mix the butter and maple syrup in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush or the back of a spoon to brush the mixture on both sides of the carrots. Place the carrots rounded side down on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until fork tender.
  4. Place the two largest carrot halves, rounded side down, turned inwards at a slight angle, like you’re making a “greater than” math sign. Balance remaining carrots flat side up across the two large, angled carrots.
  5. Trim the ends of the carrots with the scissors so they don’t extend beyond the bottom carrots. Place a caper on the end of each carrot key.
  6. If desired, place an olive on the end of each lollipop stick for mallets.

Bean appétit!

Makes 2 Xylofuns

Broctopus

 

Broctopus

 

A fun way to get your child to finish their broccoli.

Photo: The Quarto Group

Place the tot upright and surround with 8 legs. Dip the sea creature into ranch dressing or ketchup or enjoy plain.

2 cups (142 g) steamed broccoli florets
¼ cup (40 g) diced white or yellow onion
2 tablespoons (8 g) chopped parsley
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
⅔ cup (33 g) panko breadcrumbs
⅓ cup (38 g) shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Parchment paper
Pastry brush (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Add broccoli, onion, and parsley to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add salt, egg, panko breadcrumbs, and cheese to the food processor and pulse until incorporated.
  3. Use your hands to roll 1½ tablespoons (17 g) of mixture into a tot shape. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat three times for a total of four tots.
  4. Use the rest of the mixture to create 4 sets of 8 Broctopus legs (32 legs total) on the parchment paper. Form skinny legs and pinch to create curves.
  5. Use the pastry brush or your finger to brush extra-virgin olive oil on the tops of all the pieces. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, without flipping the pieces over.
  6. Place the tot upright and surround with 8 legs. Dip the sea creature into ranch dressing or ketchup or enjoy plain.

Bean appétit!

Makes 4 Broctopi

Under the Z

 

Under the Z

 

A healthy alternative to your typical pancake.

Photo: The Quarto Group

This silly use of zucchini noodles brings the “z” to under the sea.

Cooking spray
2 cups (240 g) spiral zucchini noodles plus 16 to 20 zucchini noodles
½ cup (40 g) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 egg¼ cup
(31 g) flour

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Round waffle maker

  1. Preheat the waffle maker. Lightly coat the iron with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, blend the 2 cups (240 g) spiral zucchini noodles, Parmesan cheese, egg, and flour. Pour into the waffle maker and spread evenly across the surface sothe mixture reaches the edges of the iron.
  3. While the waffle is cooking, place the remaining zucchini noodles on the bottom halves of two plates.
  4. Remove the waffle and cut in half. Place each waffle half at the top of the noodles to create the jellyfish.

Bean appétit!

Makes 2 jellyfish

Note
You can use store-bought zucchini noodles or make your own if you have a spiralizer. Or cut zucchini into long, thin noodle-like strips (a mandoline works great for this)

Dare-Deviled Eggs

 

Dare-Deviled Eggs

 

A perfect way to introduce kale into your child’s diet.

Photo: The Quarto Group

If only all deviled eggs had the moxie of these go-getters!

3 large kale leaves
1 tablespoon
(15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
¼ cup (60 g) mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
12 thin red bell pepper slices, about ½ inch long (13 mm)

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Child scissors
Toothpick

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Use the child scissors to cut one of the kale leaves until you have ⅓ cup (22 g) little confetti-like pieces. Set aside.
  3. With the other large kale leaves, cut 6 triangle shapes for capes, about 3 to 4 inches (7.5 cm to 10 cm) long. Use your fingers or a pastry brush to coat both sides of the capes with olive oil. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.
  4. Cut a tiny slice off the bottoms of the wide ends of each egg so they can stand up. Cut off the top third of each egg and carefully remove the yolks and place in a small bowl.
  5. Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and kale confetti and stir until blended. Carefully spoon the egg yolk mixture back into the hollowed-out eggs.
  6. Use a toothpick to poke 2 small holes in the top of each egg white and push in 2 red pepper pieces for horns.
  7. Carefully press the short end of each baked kale cape onto the top of the egg yolk mixture so that it’s “flying” straight out. Top with the smaller piece of the hard-boiled egg.

Bean appétit!

Makes 6 Dare-Deviled Eggs

Note
Try serving the Dare-Deviled Eggs on top of tall, clear cups turned upside down, so it looks like they’re flying.

Spagiggles

 

Spagiggles

 

Great with spaghetti or all on their own.

Photo: The Quarto Group

Unleash your inner stylist with these sassy bites.

¼ cup (35 g) cooked spaghetti
2 teaspoons (10 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
12 turkey-black bean meatballs, warmed (from Mash of the Penguins, page 25)
Marinara sauce or your favorite pasta sauce for dipping

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Child scissors (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Toss the cooked spaghetti with the olive oil, garlic powder, and salt until evenly coated.
  3. Use child scissors or your fingers to pinch off the spaghetti strands into different lengths. Place the noodles on a foil-lined baking sheet in whatever hairstyles you like—curlicues, spikes, etc. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. Let cool slightly. Fix the spaghetti hair onto the meatballs and serve with your favorite pasta sauce for dipping.

Bean appétit!

Makes 12 stylin’ meatballs

Bean There, Ate That
Try using the noodles to create stick figures for your Spagiggles.

Crocamole

 

Crocamole

 

A snack that’s delicious and safe for anyone who’s gluten free.

Photo: The Quarto Group

This croc pot is delightful for dipping veggies.

1 avocado, sliced in half lengthwise
½ cup (113 g) hummus
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 zucchini rounds, plus more for dipping
4 olive slices
14 matchstick carrots
Other favorite veggies for dipping, such as baby carrots or celery sticks

  1. Use a spoon to scoop out the avocado pulp and place in a bowl. Set avocado skins aside.
  2. Add the hummus and lemon juice to the bowl and use a fork to mash ingredients until smooth.
  3. Scoop the green hummus back into the avocado skins. Place 2 zucchini rounds and olive slices in the hummus at the wider end of each avocado skin for eyes. Add carrot matchsticks at the narrow end for teeth.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite veggie dippers.

Bean appétit!

Makes 2 Crocamoles

Spaceadilla

 

Spaceadilla

 

The jicama adds a little sweetness to this dish.

Photo: The Quarto Group

Silly shapes of crunchy veggies blast this dish to infinity and beyond.

4 flour tortillas
½ cup (58 g) shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup (113 g) shredded rotisserie chicken
¼ cup (65 g) salsa (optional)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 small jicama
12 olive slices
1 each red and orange bell pepper
1 can (16-ounce or 455 g) refried black beans, warmed

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Child scissors
Mini star and moon cookie cutters

  1. Use the child scissors to cut out 8 identical rocket shapes from the tortillas. On 4 of the rocket shapes, evenly divide the shredded cheese and chicken. Top with salsa, if desired, and the remaining tortillas.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add extra-virgin olive oil. Carefully add the rockets to the skillet. Cook until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
  3. While the rockets are cooking, cut the jicama into thin slices. Use the mini cutters to cut 16 to 20 stars and moons. Use the child scissors to cut flame shapes from orange and red bell peppers.
  4. Use the back of a spoon to spread the warmed refried beans across 4 plates. Place a rocket quesadilla in the middle of each plate. Add pepper flames at the bottom of the rocket and olive slices in the center for portholes. Add jicama stars and moons on the refried beans.

Bean appétit!

Makes 4 Spaceadillas

 

Bean Sprouts Kitchen

Bean Sprouts Kitchen

Beat Sprouts Kitchen by Shannon Payette Seip and Kelly Parthen

Photo: The Quarto Group

 

This article was written by Shannon Payette Seip and Kelly Parthen from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

15 Easy School Lunches You Can Prep in an Instant Pot

download (7).png

Getting our kids out the door in the morning is tough enough. But then you expect us to pack lunch, too? Enter these meal prep lunches, which keep in the fridge for up to three days and actually save a bunch of time—thanks to our favorite appliance, the Instant Pot.

The Cookie Rookie

Instant Pot Potato Salad with Dill Pickles

Pair with baby carrots.

Get the recipe

A Pinch of Healthy

Instant Pot Chicken Breasts

No reheating necessary.

Get the recipe

Foody Schmoody

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs in the Instant Pot

Be sure to pack extra napkins.

Get the recipe

My Crazy Good Life

Instant Pot Mini Frittatas

Presenting, the portable version of scrambled eggs.

Get the recipe

Tornadough

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

Serve it cold and it counts as pasta salad.

Get the recipe

5 Dollar Dinners

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Cheddar Rice

Bento box-ready.

Get the recipe

Sweet and Savory Meals

Instant Pot Tomato Soup

This calls for a Thermos.

Get the recipe

 

Pressure Cooker Recipes

Instant Pot Applesauce

Brilliant.

Get the recipe

The Foodie Eats

Instant Pot Ranch Chicken Salad

Tip: bagels don’t get soggy.

Get the recipe

Meal Plan Addict

Instant Pot DIY Sandwich Meat

No more waiting in line at the deli counter.

Get the recipe

Damn Delicious

Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls

Wrap it up in a tortilla if you see fit.

Get the recipe

Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Instant Pot Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Pair with your kid’s favorite dipping sauce.

Get the recipe

Recipes to Nourish

Instant Pot Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

It’s so easy.

Get the recipe

365 Days of Crockpot

Instant Pot Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese

Pretty darn good eaten straight from the fridge, too.

Get the recipe

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Picky Eaters

When children start learning to feed themselves, they can become picky about the foods they will try out. Here are a few ways to encourage picky eaters to try new foods.

twenty20_1ad13024-2946-44f7-91e6-ce5c05c208c4

  1. Have your children assist with cooking easy dishes; they will be more likely to eat it if they helped create it.
  2. Keep meal and snack times consistent. If your children eat a snack at the same time every day, they will get used to being hungry for dinner around the same time every day.
  3. Cook a variety of foods regularly. This way your children become accustomed to seeing new foods and trying them out will become a routine.
  4. Finally, be a role model. Your children will be more enticed to try new foods if they see you doing it.

Portrsit of a young Asian boy eating yummy burger with oozing facial expression

What are some ways you encourage your little ones to try new foods?

Black Bean Hummus

Black Bean Hummus RecipeSpice up snack time with this quick, easy and, most importantly, yummy black bean hummus.

Ingredients:

  • 15-oz can of black beans
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin

Drain black beans. In a blender, puree all ingredients, adding water if necessary. Season with salt to taste. Serve with crackers or raw veggies.

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

Mummy-Dogs, Halloweenies and Witch Eyes

Looking for a spooktacular twist for your child’s Halloween lunch?

  • Wrap precooked hot dogs in thin strips of canned roll dough and bake until golden brown for yummy Mummy-Dogs. For a healthier twist, try turkey or tofu dogs!
  • Slice veggie dogs, put in a mini-pita pocket with colorful matchstick veggies and add sweet and sour or BBQ sauce for a delicious Halloweenies sandwich!
  • Whip up devilishly delicious deviled eggs. Top with a round slice of black olive. Serve two egg halves side-by-side for protein-packed Witch Eyes.

School Lunch Timesavers

  • Involve your children in making lunches. After dinner, gather in the kitchen to prepare sandwiches or leftovers and snacks for the next day’s lunches. If they’ve helped make their lunch, children are more likely to eat and enjoy it.
  • Make a weekday lunch calendar and ask your children to help decide what they will have for lunch each day. This will also make grocery shopping for the week that much easier!
  • Consider using divided lunch containers. With separate sections available for each food group, they’ll help you easily put together healthy, balanced lunches.
  • Prepare a variety of fruits and veggies and place a serving of each in separate containers in the fridge. When packing lunches, have each child choose one item from each group and place in their lunch bag with a sandwich and drink.
  • Prepare large meals like pasta or stew over the weekend and then divide into single-serve portions to pack for lunches throughout the week.

Packing a Healthy Lunch

Ensure your child gets a much-needed boost of energy and nutrition from his midday meals by following these simple tips for packing a healthy lunch.

  • Include whole grains. Many breads, snacks and cereals are made with whole grains, so it’s easier than ever to make them part of your child’s daily diet. If he turns his nose up at brown whole grain bread, there are many white whole grain options available.
  • Supply fruits and veggies. Rinse and prepare cucumber slices, celery sticks, baby carrots, apple wedges, blueberries or strawberries at the beginning of the week and store in single-serve containers in your refrigerator. Let your child choose one veggie and one fruit to add to their lunch each day.
  • Offer calcium-rich options. Send along fat-free or low-fat milk (or a calcium-fortified milk alternative like soy milk), a yogurt cup, yogurt-based dip for fruits and veggies or low-fat cheese. Be sure to include freezer packs to keep these items cold, especially if there won’t be a refrigerator available to store your child’s lunch.
  • Provide protein. Whether in a sandwich (made with whole grain bread, of course!) or just rolled up on its own, lean turkey, roast beef or ham from the deli counter are a healthier alternative to fattier options like bologna.