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15 Healthy Recipes You Can Cook With Your Kids

Health + Wellness
Tom Werner / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

With many schools now closed due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, you may be looking for activities to keep your children active, engaged, and entertained.

Although numerous activities can keep kids busy, cooking is one of the best choices, as it's both fun and educational.

Cooking may help develop their problem-solving and hand-eye coordination skills, increase confidence, and even improve diet quality by encouraging fruit and veggie intake.

Yet, it's important to choose age-appropriate recipes and assign kitchen tasks that are safe for your child to tackle.

For example, very young children can help by washing vegetables, stirring ingredients, and cutting out shapes with cookie cutters while older children can take on more complex tasks, such as chopping and peeling.

Here are 15 healthy recipes that you can make with your kids.

1. Overnight Oats 

Overnight oats are an oatmeal dish that you prepare ahead and refrigerate overnight — with no cooking required.

Not only can pre-making nutritious breakfast options save you time, but choosing dishes that children can make themselves may also help your kids get excited about preparing healthy food.

Overnight oats are simple and appropriate for all ages. Plus, they're easy to individualize, allowing kids to be creative and try out different nutrient-dense toppings like berries, nuts, coconut, and seeds.

Try out these easy, kid-approved recipes with your children. They can participate by measuring, pouring, and chopping ingredients, depending on their age. Let your kids jazz up their oats by choosing toppings of their own.

2. Strawberry and Cantaloupe Yogurt Pops

Most kids love fruit, which is why strawberry and cantaloupe yogurt pops make a perfect snack.

Strawberries and cantaloupe are both loaded with fiber, vitamin C, and folate, a B vitamin that's important for growth and development.

Dipping fruit in protein-packed yogurt ups its nutrient content and boosts feelings of fullness.

This easy recipe is appropriate for children of all ages. Kids can cut the fruit, dip it in the yogurt, and slide the fruit onto popsicle sticks, depending on their age.

3. One Bowl Banana Bread 

Many banana bread recipes require multiple steps that can leave your kitchen a mess.

Notably, this healthy recipe requires just one bowl and is kid-friendly.

It's high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats thanks to its almond flour, eggs, and flax meal. As such, it's sure to keep your little ones satisfied between meals.

Plus, the dark chocolate chips and banana give this bread a hint of sweetness.

Have your children mash the bananas, measure ingredients, and fold the chocolate chips into the batter. Once it's out of the oven, they can top their slices with nut butter for a boost of protein.

4. Ants on a Log

Ants on a log, which combines crunchy celery, smooth or chunky nut butter, and sweet, chewy raisins, is a classic snack for many kids.

All you need are those three basic ingredients, though you can also spice things up. Let your kids get involved by spreading their favorite nut butter onto the celery and sprinkling fun toppings, such as chocolate chips, granola, and fresh or dried fruit, onto the "logs."

If your child has a nut allergy, you can fill the celery with cottage cheese, cream cheese, or even mashed avocado for a more savory twist.

This recipe offers many variations of ants on a log sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.

5. Guacamole 

Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They're an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, and micronutrients like potassium, folate, and vitamins C and E.

Plus, their smooth, creamy texture can be a hit with kids, especially when made into guacamole and paired with tortilla chips or veggie sticks.

Guacamole is a breeze to make and can be modified depending on your child's tastes. For example, you can add veggies like onions and tomatoes to the mix, as well as fresh herbs like cilantro.

Kids can have a blast mashing the avocados with a handheld masher or old-fashioned mortar and pestle.

Here's a kid-friendly guacamole recipe that your whole family will love.

6. Mini Eggplant Pizzas

This mini eggplant pizza recipe is ideal for kids and parents alike.

It uses eggplant instead of pizza dough for the base, which can help increase your child's vegetable intake.

Kids of all ages can participate by spreading tomato sauce on the eggplant rounds and topping them with cheese. More adventurous eaters can experiment with different toppings like olives or anchovies.

7. Kid-Friendly Green Smoothie

Smoothies are an excellent way to introduce more fruits, veggies, and other healthy ingredients into your child's diet.

This green smoothie recipe is naturally sweetened with frozen fruit and contains a healthy dose of fat and protein from nutritious additions like Greek yogurt and avocado.

Plus, the fresh greens give this smoothie an enticing hue.

Your kids can help by washing and chopping the ingredients and adding them to the blender.

8. Rainbow Spring Rolls 

Though many kids dislike vegetables, offering veggies to your children in fun, exciting ways may make them more willing to try new foods.

The translucent rice paper used to prepare spring rolls allows the colorful ingredients inside to shine through, providing a visually appealing meal or snack for kids. Plus, spring rolls are easy to make and highly versatile.

Your kids can help by using a spiralizer to create long, thin strands of veggies, layering ingredients in the rice paper shells, and mixing tasty dipping sauces.

Carrots, zucchini, and cucumbers make good choices for spiralizing. If you desire, you can add protein sources like chicken or shrimp to make the rolls more filling.

Here's a kid-friendly spring roll recipe.

9. No-Bake Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

If you're looking for a sweet treat for your kids that isn't packed with added sugar and artificial ingredients, try this chocolate chip cookie dough bite recipe.

It's loaded with healthy ingredients like almond butter, coconut milk, and raisins and sweetened with honey and dark chocolate chips.

Moreover, it doesn't require any baking, uses only one bowl, and takes just 10 minutes to prep. Children can help by stirring ingredients and forming the balls of dough.

10. Apple Pie in a Jar 

This scrumptious recipe uses ingredients like almond flour, eggs, honey, apples, and coconut oil to create a sweet yet nutrient-dense, snack-size treat.

While most desserts rely on refined ingredients, such as white flour and vegetable oil, these mini apple pies are much more wholesome.

Kids can pitch in by rolling the dough into individual balls, stirring the ingredients, and assembling the pie jars.

11. Veggie Omelets

Kids can learn a lot about cooking by making omelets. Plus, they're customizable and packed with nutrients that are essential for growth.

For example, eggs are often considered nature's multivitamin because they boast numerous vitamins and minerals, including choline, iron, and vitamins A, B12, and E, all of which are essential for children's health.

Adding colorful vegetables like peppers and greens further boosts omelets' nutritional value.

What's more, kids are likely to enjoy cracking the eggs, whisking the ingredients, and frying their creation on the stove. Older children can even be tasked with making their own omelets from start to finish.

Check out this veggie omelet recipe to get some ideas.

12. Healthy Cheesy Crackers

Some popular snacks marketed to kids, such as cheesy crackers, are loaded with additives like unhealthy oils, preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors.

Nonetheless, you and your kids can make healthy snack alternatives at home using simple, nutritious ingredients.

This recipe for cheesy crackers uses just four ingredients, including real Cheddar cheese and whole grain flour. Your kids can cut the dough into fun shapes before you bake them.

13. Colorful Salad Jars

Making colorful salad jars with your kids is an excellent way to motivate children to eat more veggies.

If your child is a picky eater, making vegetables more visually appealing and giving your kid frequent chances to try them may promote their veggie intake.

Furthermore, research shows that kids prefer sweet veggies over bitter ones, so mixing both sweet and bitter types into one dish may diversify your child's diet.

Have your little ones help you layer veggies and other healthy ingredients like beans, seeds, chicken, and eggs in Mason jars. Let your child pick which veggies they prefer, but encourage a combination of both bitter and sweet veggies.

Bitter veggies include kale, arugula, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli, while sweet varieties include carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, peas, and corn.

Check out this fun recipe for colorful salad jars.

14. Frozen Yogurt Pops 

Many ice cream and yogurt pops are packed with added sugar and artificial colorings and sweeteners. Since these ingredients should be limited in children's diets, consider ditching the store-bought ones and have your kids help make nutrient-dense, homemade yogurt pops.

This recipe for frozen yogurt pops uses protein-packed yogurt and is naturally sweetened with frozen fruit and a bit of honey.

Kids can help by gathering the ingredients, pouring the fruit and yogurt purée into paper cupcake liners, and slotting the tray into your freezer.

15. Sweet Potato Nachos

Sweet potatoes are a favorite veggie of many kids because of their pleasant taste and bright color. They're also highly nutritious, offering ample beta carotene, fiber, and vitamin C.

To make nutrient-dense nachos, replace the regular corn chips with sweet potatoes.

Kids can layer on healthy toppings of their choice, such as salsa, cheese, black beans, and peppers.

Here's a child-friendly recipe for sweet potato nachos.

The Bottom Line

Cooking with your kids not only keeps them busy but also teaches them cooking skills and even encourages them to try new, healthy foods.

Try involving your kids in some of the recipes above to get them inspired in the kitchen and making delicious snacks and meals.

Reposted with permission from Healthline. For detailed source information, please view the original article on Healthline.

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