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Fun and Easy Recipes for Kids

cooking with kids

Kids can be the harshest critic. Their brute honesty can cut like a sharp knife. I pity the green peas that fall to the ground from complete rejection. In a moment’s desperation, don’t you sometimes cry out, “Help me! My kid is the pickiest eater in the universe! What should I do???”

The answer may surprise you. Although kids can be extremely harsh judges and getting them to eat can feel like prying open the doors of a condemned building, they too, can be won over. “But how?” you may ask. Well…get them involved in the cooking process. Let them be the chef of the kitchen and create masterpieces. When kids learn how to cook and are part of the creative process, they develop a sense of pride and accomplishment in their creations. And perhaps more subtly, the seed of appreciation for the usual chefs (i.e. mom and dad) is sown. You, as the ‘usual chef’ may never reap the benefits of words of appreciation until YEARS LATER (I don’t want to give false hopes.) but granted, if you start using easy recipes for kids now, you may just save yourself a few tears down the road.

The key to success when it comes to cooking with kids is simple – easy recipes. You’re not aiming to create the next best thing since sliced bread here. Go for simple and as your child ages, upgrade from recipes for toddlers to older kid friendly recipes.

A good place to start would be snack recipes for kids such as the following. There is very minimal work to be done, but there is some cutting involved. If your child is not at a stage where they can safely manage even with adult supervision, give them the task of measuring and combining ingredients instead. Also, you can encourage them to place the assembled snacks into their own special container and say it’s their special helper task.

Simple Snack Ideas for Kids

  • Homemade granola bars or oatmeal cookies, milk
  • Homemade trail mix: dry whole grain cereal (e.g. o’s or squares), dried fruit (e.g. raisins, cranberries), pretzels, seeds
  • Raw vegetables with hummus or black bean dip
  • Whole grain crackers topped with cheddar cheese and slices of pear
  • Apples slices spread lightly with peanut butter
  • Yogurt with cut up fruit for dipping
  • Chopped hard-boiled egg stuffed in mini pitas with 100% vegetable juice
  • Fresh or canned fruits (unsweetened), small whole grain muffin

These healthy recipes for kids each have two food groups, which make it a balanced snack between meals. Snacks are very important for growing kids to provide them with the nutrition and the calories they need to support rapid growth. I know it’s much more convenient to buy packaged kid snacks rather than teaching a child how to make their own food, but the long term result is a healthier child that is also learning life skills at an early age. And that…is priceless.

Dessert Recipe for Kids

Here’s a lovely recipe created by a kid, for kids! Be warned, it’s not the healthiest recipe, but definitely a fun and messy one. Consider hosting a kids party and making this together so it’s a special treat, rather than a staple after-dinner dessert.

Dirt Cup Dessert

Ingredients:
1 package Oreo Cookies
2 boxes instant chocolate pudding mix
3 cups cold milk
1 container whipped topping
Gummi Worms for garnish

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Directions:
Place Oreos in a food processor and blend into crumbles. You can use a rolling pin crush them if you don’t have a food processor. In a large bowl, combine cold milk and pudding mix. Stir until well blended. Add whipped topping to the pudding and stir until well blended. In an individual sized glass or clear plastic cup, place a thick layer of cookie crumbles on bottom. Then add a layer of pudding mixture and top with another layer of crumbles. Garnish with Gummi Worms and enjoy!

Dinner Recipes for Kids

Cooking with kids during dinner can be a bit more challenging, especially if they are young. What I would suggest is to give them the task of assembling a side dish that doesn’t involve a stove. Some ideas include:

  • Pre-cut colorful vegetables and have your little helper assemble everyone’s salad bowl in a unique way. Give them a challenge they can manage like every bowl must have at least 3 different colors
  • Ask them to make garnishes using cookie cutters. Give your child thinly sliced fruits or veggies with regular cookie cutters that are different shapes. Get them to garnish everyone’s dinner plate with an edible garnish.
  • Open up a can of pineapple chunks and mini wieners. Hand these and some toothpicks and have your little helper make simple appetizers for dinner or for a birthday party!