Many adults enjoy cooking and baking for themselves and their families, but how about kids? A lot of parents might have a little one with them in the kitchen while preparing meals, which can be fun, but also a little distracting. Lots of kids love to help and be involved in the kitchen, but as you know, cooking with kids can be a bit messy and potentially dangerous. But no kid wants to be turned down from lending a helping hand to Mom and Dad when what they’re doing looks super fun! So how can you keep kids safe in the kitchen with you while helping them feel like they’re contributing to the family meals? But giving them tasks and recipes that are perfect for little hands that may be a bit clumsy. Even with more difficult recipes, there’s always something the kids can do to help out, and we here at Red Cat Reading have come up with a list of 10 healthy recipes that are perfect to make as a family in the kitchen!
1. Ants on a Log
Many of you are surely already aware of this classic kids snack and might’ve even grown up eating it yourselves! This recipe is so simple and can be made with just 3 ingredients; celery, peanut butter, and raisins. Wash the celery thoroughly, then cut the stalk into easy to hold sticks for little hands. For the next step, get your kids ready to help out with spreading the peanut butter onto the celery. Using plastic knives, your kids can spread peanut butter, or another spread like Nutella or cream cheese, into the curved part of the celery so it holds the peanut butter like a hollowed out little log. Last, dot the peanut butter with raisins to give your log some ants! You can also use other toppings, such as nuts, granola, chocolate chips, or other dried fruits if you’d like. Even adults can enjoy this quick and healthy snack, so be sure to make enough for everyone!
- Celery Stalks
- Peanut Butter
2. Frozen Banana Bites
This snack or dessert is reminiscent of the classic fair food, chocolate banana on a stick, but without the upped prices and long wait in line. Parents will need to help get this treat started, but kids can easily do most of the work themselves here. First, parents can cut the bananas into bite sized round pieces, then put them onto a wax paper lined tray and pop them into the freezer for a couple of hours. Once frozen, melt some chocolate into a small bowl until smooth and runny. Your kids can help stir the chocolate until it’s the right consistency and all the chocolate is completely melted. Next, have the kids put a toothpick into each piece of banana and dip it into the chocolate. You can put as much or as little chocolate on it as you like. While the chocolate is still a bit melty, dip the chocolate banana into some toppings! You can dip them into whatever you like, such as dried coconut, sprinkles, chopped nuts, granola, or chopped candies. Let them set for a few minutes in the freezer if they’ve warmed up a bit during the process and enjoy!
- Cup Chocolate Chips
- Sprinkles, or Your Favorite Toppings
3. Healthy Wraps
These wraps are a super easy lunch or dinner option that require no cooking and very little help from parents. Kids can make these almost completely by themselves! Just start with a tortilla, then spread your favorite cream cheese or hummus all over one side of the tortilla. Next, add some lettuce! Kids can wash the lettuce and tear it into pieces by hand and place it onto the tortilla. Then you can add some sliced meat, like turkey or whatever meat you like, and put some sliced or shredded cheese on top. You can also add extra sliced veggies like cucumber, carrot, or bell pepper for extra nutrition and crunch! Once you’ve added all of the ingredients, roll the wraps so they are easy to hold, and you’re done!
- Cream Cheese/Hummus
- Sliced Meat/Turkey
4. Breakfast Smoothie
We don’t always have a lot of time in the morning to put together a well balanced and healthy breakfast, but this breakfast smoothie is super quick and easy to mix up in a hurry. You can start by using your favorite frozen fruit and have your child toss some into the blender. If you will be using fresh fruit, just be sure to add some ice cubes along with it. Frozen strawberries, blueberries, and banana make a really tasty combo, but for some added nutrition, you can add some spinach or kale to the mix! The sweet fruit will help disguise any veggie flavor here. Next, you can add some yogurt to thicken it up, or whatever milk you like. While making sure the lid of the blender is securely on, have your child press the button to blend up the smoothie. If it’s a bit thick, add some juice, milk, or water to make it a bit easier to pour. Last, pour it into a glass and it’s breakfast time!
- Frozen Strawberries
- Frozen Blueberries
- Frozen Banana
- Frozen Spinach/Kale
5. Pizza Toast
This one is so fun and easy for kids and parents to make together. With pizza toast, you can have all the flavors of pizza with just a few ingredients you probably already have on hand! Start with some sliced bread, then add a thin layer of tomato sauce and sprinkle some cheese on top. It’s so simple! But for more fun and flavor, you can add some toppings like sausage, bell pepper, mushroom, olives, or whatever you have on hand. Kids can have fun choosing their favorite toppings and even making fun designs on the pizza. Lastly, pop your pizza toast into a toaster oven or standard oven until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasty.
- Sliced Bread
- Tomato Sauce
- Shredded/Sliced Cheese
- Olives/Bell Pepper/Sausage/etc.
6. Yogurt and Granola Parfaits
These parfaits are super simple to put together, but look so yummy, your child won’t be able to wait to dig into them! These parfaits look best when arranged in clear cups or bowls, so start with a glass cup. Add a layer of fruit, then a layer of granola to the cup. Next, add a layer of yogurt and continue alternating between layers of fruit, granola, and yogurt until the cup is full to the top. If you’re concerned that the construction of this treat may get messy, let your child be in charge of adding the fruit and granola layers, while you can help them spoon in the yogurt layers. Don’t forget to add some fruit and granola at the very top of the parfait to make it look extra appetizing and pretty!
- Fresh or Frozen Fruit
Tacos are a flavorful and quick to make dinner staple that many families love to make regularly. They are simple to put together and fun for kids to eat with their hands. Get started by cooking up some ground beef, chicken, or turkey in a fry pan with a packet of taco seasoning. If your meat is a bit greasy, you can drain any excess oil for a leaner meal. Next, let the kids help put the tacos together by setting up a “taco bar”. Put different taco toppings into bowls, like shredded lettuce, onion, cheese, salsa, avocado, sour cream, diced tomato, or black beans. Give your kids a tortilla to fill, and let them spoon on some meat and all their other favorite toppings.They are guaranteed to have fun constructing these tacos and even more fun eating them!
- Ground Beef/Chicken/Turkey
- Taco Spice Packet
8. Bagels with Cream Cheese and Toppings
Bagels with cream cheese are a super satisfying breakfast or snack that are so easy to make, even kids can help out. All you need to do is split a bagel in half, which your child may be able to help with if it’s a pre-cut bagel, then toast it. You don’t HAVE to toast it, but it gives it a satisfying crunch. Next, take some cream cheese and spread it all over the cut side of the bagel. After you’ve got a nice layer, you can add some different toppings to the already very tasty bagel. You can make it sweet with honey, fruit, chocolate, or nuts, or you can make it savory with some sliced cherry tomatoes, smoked salmon, bacon, avocado, or sliced hard boiled egg. Have fun trying different combinations of toppings and coming up with new flavors!
- Cream Cheese
- Cherry Tomatoes
9. Frozen Yogurt and Fruit Pops
These popsicles make for a great snack or dessert, but take so little effort to make! Your kids will have no trouble handling this recipe, with just a tiny bit of guidance. Get some popsicle molds or paper cups and popsicle sticks, and fill them with yogurt and layers of fruit. You can use blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or whatever kind of fruit you’d like! Also, you can try mixing the yogurt and fruit together, then add it to the molds, or you can make some nice fruit layers instead. Both create a very tasty treat, no matter what. After the molds have been filled, freeze them 4-6 hours or overnight. It might be good to make these in the afternoon and have them for dessert, or make them the night before and have them whenever you like the next day.
- Yogurt (Any Flavor)
- Fruit (Strawberries, Blueberries, etc)
10. Mashed Potatoes
Now this recipe requires some extra help from parents, BUT kids will have so much fun making it. Start by peeling your potatoes and boiling them in a big pot of water on the stove. Once they become soft enough for a fork to pierce them they’re ready to be drained and put in a mixing bowl. Here’s where it’s time to call in the kids for some fun! Help your child mash the potatoes by holding onto the masher with them and squishing it down onto the potatoes. The potatoes will go through the holes of the masher like a mold and after some hard work mashing, the potatoes will eventually be smooth and ready for seasoning. Add some butter, milk, salt, and pepper and stir it very well into the mashed potatoes. Serve the mashed potatoes with lunch or dinner and feel free to add some toppings like cheese, chives, or even bacon.
We hope you now have a few more great recipes to add to your collection! Have fun sharing these recipes with your family and making wonderful memories in the kitchen together! And don’t forget to check out Red Cat Reading’s Download Center for even more activities to try with your kids.