Kids’ Kitchen – Making Nutrition Fun
We all know the struggle some nannies face when it comes to ensuring their charges eat a well-balanced meal. Many children do not respond well to sitting down for a long period of time and eating food they have decided is “gross” without even tasting it. They’d rather live exclusively off of chicken tenders and chips; which when you compare the taste to steamed spinach, we understand. However, here at Lunachild, we have a strategy that not only may encourage the children under your care to eat a more nutritious diet, but may also trigger the start of a passion for cuisine.
The trick? Cook with them!
Before we set off into some kid-friendly recipes, nannies should begin this exercise by touring the kitchen. Ensure that any dangerous tools (knives, mandolin slicers, peelers, etc.) are safely stored. If you will require the use of equipment that may pose a threat to the safety of the children, prepare these ingredients prior to bringing the children into the kitchen. Another option is to look into kid-friendly kitchen utensils which not only provide more safety, but also are more comfortable for little hands to use. You can find products here and here, as well as on sites like Amazon. Availability of these products may vary depending on your location.
After your safety check, do another tour, this time with the children. Show them the major appliances of the kitchen and explain how/why they are used. Answer any questions the little ones may have; this is the best time to spark their interest. During this tour, ensure you highlight any hazards in the kitchen, along with strategies to remain safe. For example, when explaining the danger of an oven, demonstrate how to wear oven mitts, and ensure they understand that an adult must always be assisting.
Today we will begin with some fairly simple recipes that do not require many kitchen tools to make. Our theme for today’s post is snack time! We will list recipes for a few healthy dips that children can assist in making before chowing down. Each recipe will include an ingredients list, as well as a kitchen utensil/equipment list.
2 Avocados, diced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped tomato, pulp and seeds removed
1-2 serrano chiles, minced, seeds and stem removed
Dash of black pepper
Small mixing bowl
Fork, or masher
[Optional] gloves for handling chiles
[Optional] pestle and mortar, if you would prefer a very creamy guacamole
- Prepare all ingredients according to list above. Depending on the children’s age, they may be able to assist with this. Take this time to show them the proper way to hold and use a knife. Note: as soon as the avocado has been prepared, drizzle with lime juice in order to prevent browning.
- Combine avocado chunks, tomato, onion, chiles, and lime juice and begin mashing. Children will love the opportunity to really mush up the food. It may be best to start with a small amount of chiles and add more after tasting to ensure the guacamole is not too hot.
- Add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.
It’s time to dig in! Serve the guacamole with crackers, chips, pita, or sliced veggies.
- 1 large eggplant
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1⁄4cup lemon juice
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pinch ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1⁄4 cup brine-cured black olives
Baking sheet – line with parchment paper
Small grill – we like this handy grill pan from Ikea
[Optional] garlic press – kids will enjoy using this!
[Optional] Masher, if you’d rather not use a fork
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Preheat grill to medium-hot.
- Prick the eggplant in many places using a fork. Place on grill. If using a barbecue grill, place roughly 5 inches (12.5cm) above the flame.
- Grill the eggplant, turning often, to ensure an even, blackened and blistery skin. It should take between 10-15 minutes, and the skin will feel soft when it is done.
- Transfer onto baking sheet and place on middle rack of oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove eggplant from oven and let cool. Once cool, peel off skin, and discard.
- In a bowl, mash up cooked eggplant to a paste using fork or a masher.
- Add tahini, garlic, lemon juice, cumin and mix well.
- Season with salt and taste to determine whether the dip requires more lemon or tahini.
- Transfer mixture to serving bowl, then spread with the back of a spoon, leaving a shallow depression in the middle. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with parsley, followed by olives placed around the sides or in the depression.
Enjoy with veggie stick, cracker or pita.
1 ripe mango
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced (amount varies depending on palate of children)
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
[Optional] hot sauce
Fork or spoon to mix with, or use hands (wash carefully after handling pepper)
[Optional] gloves for handling jalapeno pepper
- Pepare all ingredients
- Toss mangoes, red pepper, red onion, jalapeno in the lime juice. Season with salt and cilantro.
- Add hot sauce to taste (if you are using it).
- Chill for 30 minutes.
Dig into this fresh dip with chips, pita or veggie sticks. Delicious on any southwestern inspired dish.
Enjoy snack time with the kids! If you are looking for more recipe ideas to attempt with children, check out the blog each month. Furthermore, if you have any suggestions, or feedback about the recipes, we’d love to hear from you. As well, if you are working with any dietary restrictions, leave a comment. We are always happy to create fresh and healthy alternatives to our recipes.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]