Encouraging healthy eating should start at home and where best to start than in your own kitchen? Getting the kids to join in with making some simple snacks is a great way of teaching them about nutrition and food and teaching them to cook is a great way of promoting independence in children. Here are three fun food recipes for little ones – something that they can join in with, so they’re sure to want to eat the finished result.
PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICHES
Not to be sniffed at, the humble peanut butter sandwich is one of the healthiest snacks you can give the kids. It’s packed with fibre (good for the digestive tract) and protein and, if served on wholemeal or wholegrain bread, this is one of the best fast foods you can eat. The bread will need to be cut by an adult (if not already sliced), but you can let the kids loose with the jar of peanut butter to spread to their hearts’ content. For a mix and match experience they can choose to add jam, sliced banana, sliced apple, cream cheese (or just about whatever takes their fancy – I know people who actually add Marmite!).
Making sandwiches is a great learning activity for small children. The spreading is great for developing creativity – let them slop it about a bit (never mind the mess, it’s pretty easy to wipe clean) and learn about all the properties of this sticky, sludgy treat. Cutting and divvying up the sandwiches is a great pre-maths activity for little ones – they will get a taste for division and fractions without even realising it.
Get a load of kebab sticks and bowls of various fruits (grapes, sultanas, apple wedges, orange slices, kiwi slices, pineapple chunks, pear cubes, dried apricots – whatever takes your fancy and whatever the kids like best). Let the kids “thread” the pieces of fruit onto the kebab sticks for a healthy and nutritious mid afternoon or supper time snack. To make these even more nutritious, you can even add cubes of cheddar cheese for a protein boost.
Threading the pieces onto the kebab sticks is great for developing hand eye co-ordination in small children. Encourage them to alternate the pieces to make patterns, matching colours, repeat patterns, etc – this will promote creativity.
You’ll need some digestive biscuits, a pot of ricotta cheese and toppings of your choice – luxury jams/preserves, berries, mandarin slices – whatever floats your boat and whatever the kids like best. Get the kids to spread ricotta cheese onto each digestive biscuit and then splodge on the toppings of their choice.
Another activity that is great for hand eye co-ordination and it will develop concentration too. These cheating cheesecakes make for a great desert for all the family and your little ones will glow with the pride that comes from ‘cooking’ part of the family meal themselves – great for promoting self-confidence.