Alas, my husband (aka Mr. Wonderful) cannot cook. He does laundry with panache and steers a vacuum with the finesse of a race car driver, but he lacks kitchen skills. I determined my son would learn the basics of cooking and baking…it’s a work in progress.
Kids love to cook. Give them the opportunity to mix and process, and they’ll happily make a mess in the kitchen – all while gathering valuable know-how. Even the itty bitties can help measure ingredients and add contents to the mixing bowl. Kids love to help make food that can be shared. Snacks are big at our house. We have a non-traditional schedule and the hours between regular meals can stretch farther than is comfortable for little tummies. Finding a selection of snack ideas that combine healthy ingredients with flavors that appeal to a child isn’t always easy. Here are a few we’ve found work for us:
– bread (try mixing different varieties)
– cream cheese (add chopped olives or pimientos)
– cucumber (cut into rounds or lengths)
Spread soft bread slices with a thin layer of cream cheese. Slice cucumber in thin even round and stack on the sandwiches. Season to taste (a little salt and pepper really draws out the flavors), and use cookie cutters to make the sandwiches into fun shapes
– selection of fresh fruits (melons and berries are sturdy)
– wooden skewers (kebab sticks can be cut in half)
– 1/4 C yogurt, per person
Prep the fruit and let the little hands cut them into shapes using cookie cutters. Help slide the fruit onto the skewers (it isn’t necessary to soak the sticks first). Use your favorite flavor of yogurt as a dipping sauce or mix 2T of honey or jam into plain yogurt for a more personalized snack.
8 graham cracker squares, finely ground
1/4 C currants
1/4 C smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 T honey
4 tsp unsweetened coconut or shaved chocolate
Combine ground graham crackers with the currants, peanut butter, and honey. Pat the dough into eight cookies and roll lightly in coconut (shaved chocolate is good too).
These recipes were tested in our kitchen (for what that’s worth), but they can easily be adapted for less-nimble fingers or the more discerning palates of older kids. Add ingredients at will. Flavors are fun. Experiment with spices.
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