Cooking with Children: Healthy Ideas

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Cooking with children can be a fun and delicious way to spend more time with your kids. Kids typically enjoy baking cupcakes and cookies and other not-so-healthy foods. If you start cooking better food with your kids early on, you can start a healthy pattern that will last a lifetime. It may be difficult at first to convince them that granola is actually tasty, but rest assured there are plenty of healthy recipes that your children won't mind making or eating! Save the cookie baking for more special occasions and try to cook healthy food with them on a regular basis. Here are some healthy cooking ideas for kids:

Recipe #1 - Cheese and Fruit Salad

Ingredients: 1 cup of lettuce, 1/3 cup of chopped carrots, 4 sliced strawberries, 1 stick of reduced-fat string cheese, 1/4 cup of cubed low-sodium cooked ham, 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk, 1/2 cup light mayo, and 1/2 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar

You can clean a pair of safety scissors and allow your child to cut up the lettuce. Next, place the lettuce, fruit, veggies, cheese, and ham into a container and your child can shake up all the ingredients together. The rest of the ingredients can be mixed together to make a healthy dressing for the salad.

Recipe #2 - Strawberry Smoothie

Ingredients: 1/2 cup vanilla soy yogurt, 1/2 cup strawberries, 2 ice cubes, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

This one is really simply. Just have your little one measure out all the ingredients and place in a blender until smooth. This recipe is also great for kids who have lactose intolerance.

Recipe #3 - Apple Slices with Peanut Butter

Ingredients: 2 slices of whole wheat or whole grain bread, 1 apple, peanut butter/chocolate peanut butter/chocolate soy nut butter, and 2 tablespoons granola

Let your child spread his favorite peanut butter on the slices of bread and then place slices of apples (or bananas if he prefers) on the sandwich. Then sprinkle the granola over the top and you're all done!

Getting your kids to eat healthy can be a challenge but continue to introduce them to new foods. Children have sensitive taste buds so avoid very bitter or strong tasting food. Give them sweeter fruits and vegetables like strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, and corn. You can sneak pureed or finely chopped items into your normal meals so they're at least getting the nutritional value. However, don't make this your only solution. Kids need to be exposed head on and learn how to expand their palates.

Always make sure the kitchen is filled with fruits, vegetables, yogurt, granola bars and other healthy items rather then stocking up on cookies and chips. This will give your kids only healthy options, but don't just leave fruit lying around. Buy cookbooks or look for recipes online to make that fruit more appealing to them. Cooking with children doesn't have to be an unhealthy task. It can be fun, rewarding, and yummy.

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