Enjoy this post from our contributor, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Amber Parisie!
It is pretty much standard for kids to want snacks during a play date, so why not have the kids prepare some fun, healthy snacks as a play date activity!? A cooking play date is a great activity for any time of year; especially during August to celebrate the first ever national Kids Eat Right Month.Kids Eat Right is a great place to find expert backed nutrition and health information and recipes for children! Any opportunity to involve children in food preparation and learning is a great one. They’ll have fun putting together a snack or two that has been partially prepared for them. They will also learn about healthy foods and food preparation while they are doing it, but you can keep that information to yourself so they won’t shy away from the idea when they hear the word “healthy”.
So, you decide to plan a cooking play date. What kinds of recipes are good and simple for kids to assemble? Kebabs of any kind are fun to assemble, just make sure to assist younger kids so they don’t hurt themselves with the skewers. Yogurt parfait in a clear cup is pretty when assembled and so is infused water. Choosing recipes with fresh fruits and vegetables will make the finished product colorful like an edible piece of artwork. Whatever you choose, just aim for recipes that are very simple, have few ingredients, and are quick to assemble.
I thought I’d give one of these cooking play dates a try after running it by my daughter. She was excited about having a cooking play date, and chose 2 recipes out of the 6 options I gave her. The two recipes she chose were Caprese Salad on a Stick and Apple Almond Butter Moons (recipe below). These two recipes are great because they require little preparation by the hosting adult and they’re healthy and colorful.
On the day of the cooking play date I “pre-prepared” the ingredients in order to make the recipes simple and quick for the kids. I washed and cut everything and placed each item on a separate plate or bowl. For the Caprese Salad on a Stick, that meant washing the cherry tomatoes and basil and cutting the fresh mozzarella into bite sized pieces. I opted not to even use the olive oil and salt because I tried one without and it was really good. For the Apple and Almond Butter Moons, that meant slicing the apples and putting about ½ cup of almond butter and ½ cup of granola on separate plates.
When the time came for kids to prepare the snacks they were very excited. The Caprese salad on a Stick recipe was easy to make, pretty when finished, and delicious. It was a success!
They were still hungry, so they made the Apple Almond Butter Moons right after making and eating the Caprese Salad on a Stick. These were also easy to make, a little messy but delicious!
Both recipes went smoothly and the girls were full with more energy to continue playing. Best of all they were full of nutrient dense low sugar foods including fruits and vegetables that they enjoyed preparing. This is a definite keeper for a fun play date activity!
Apple Almond Butter Moons Recipe
½ cup almond butter or any other nut butter your kids like
½ cup granola
Cut apples into slices and place on a plate. Place ½ cup of almond butter on a plate and half cup of granola on a separate plate. Have the kids either dip the apples in the almond butter or spread it on with a butter knife. Then dip the apple covered in almond butter into the granola. Enjoy!
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