Getting Kids Involved with Meals During Coronavirus

Schools are shut and ‘social distancing’ forbids play dates…what’s a parent to do in these stressful times? Now is a perfect opportunity to get your kids in the kitchen! With a little help from mom, dad or a caregiver, children can prepare their own meals. Additionally, being more involved with meal planning, grocery shopping and food preparation often leads to more adventurous eating. Here are some ways to pass the time while the kids are home from school.

– Select kid-friendly recipes. The best way to get picky eaters to try new things is to get them excited! This could be by trying a new food or a familiar food prepared in a new way. There are lots of nutritious, creative, easy-to-prepare recipes out there; I highly recommend chocolate pudding made with avocados and peanut butter-and-jelly hummus.

PB&J Hummus

from Cooking Up Fun for Kids With Diabetes

3/4 cup Chickpeas, canned
1/4 cup Peanut butter
1/4 cup Apple juice
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 cup blueberry jam

1. Rinse and drain the chickpeas then drop them in a blender. Add peanut
butter, cinnamon. Blend briefly then add apple juice while
blending to a smooth, slightly runny, consistency. Scrape out into a
bowl.

  1. Place 2 Tbs of fruit spread on 1/2 of the surface of the bowl and stir
    briefly. You’re not mixing two together so much as bringing a swirl of
    fruit through the hummus. Repeat with the remaining 2 Tbs of fruit
    spread. For an interesting visual effect try two different flavors
    (colors) of fruit spread and place them in a pattern before swirling.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

from http://www.californiaavocado.com

1.5 avocados, peeled and pit removed

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut milk

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and mix to combine.

– Give kids age-appropriate tasks. You may not be ready to share your chef’s knife, but you can supervise a youngster with a whisk or peeler. Kid-size cooking tools are available online and make food preparation easier and safer for little hands. Large stools with railings are also available so toddlers can help at the counter. Giving kids jobs in the kitchen increases self-esteem and gives them ownership of the food being served at mealtimes.

– Take children grocery shopping. Instead of plopping them in front of an iPad, talk to them about what you’re putting in your cart and why. Ask age-appropriate questions, such as ‘What color is this apple?’ or ‘Which brand of flour is more expensive?’ Older children could keep track of the cost of the items in the cart as part of a budgeting exercise. This is great time to ask children what they’d like to eat during the week, and pick up items that are easy for small children to prepare independently, such as pre-sliced apples or cheese sticks.

– Look for learning opportunities. The simple act of feeding your family presents multiple ways for children to learn a variety of skills. When your kids sit with you at the beginning of the week to plan meals, they learn how to pair foods together to create nutritious, balanced meals. When grocery shopping, children can learn simple budgeting, counting money (when you pay in cash!) and how to select the best ingredients, such as a perfectly ripe avocado or a still-green banana. Once you get home, you can teach them the importance of food safety by refrigerating items quickly and have them help you put groceries away.

 

 

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