The kitchen can be a fun place for kids and parents to spend time together. Parents can help foster a positive relationship between their children and food by letting them help in the kitchen. Kids ages 1 to 5 are curious, eager to learn and want to spend time together. Here’s a guide on how to get your little ones engaged and having fun in the kitchen.
Before getting in the kitchen together, prioritize safety. Clear the cooking area of any hazards, like sharp objects or hot surfaces. Use kid-friendly utensils with blunt edges, and make sure to supervise closely during all kitchen activities.
Create a Kid-Friendly Space
Set up a dedicated area within the kitchen where your little chef can comfortably work alongside you. A step stool (depending on age) can make reaching the counter easier or using the kitchen table, allowing them to feel more involved in the cooking process.
Let them get involved in washing vegetables, tearing lettuce, or stirring ingredients. Praise their efforts and celebrate their accomplishments to boost their confidence.
Engage the Senses
Cooking is a sensory experience. Encourage your child to touch, smell, and even taste different ingredients. Allow them to explore the textures of flour, the aroma of herbs, and the vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables.
CHILAQUILES & SALSA
Makes 2 servings.
1 large onion
4 – 5 large tomatoes
(remove seeds from jalapeno, or replace with ½ bell pepper if you don’t want it spicy)
Juice of ½ lime or lemon
1 cup cilantro
Salt and/or sugar to taste
For extra flavor, add a whole bulb of garlic to the veggies!
Cook vegetables in the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, turning the veggies over halfway through. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then add veggies into a blender along with cilantro and lime or lemon juice. Blend until there’s no chunks, then it’s ready to serve!
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
6 Corn tortillas, each cut into 6 wedges
1 cup of Salsa
(To save time, you can use WIC approved Always Save Mild Salsa from JC Food Mart instead of making your own)
Additional Optional Toppings – Sliced avocado, shredded cheese, onion, cilantro, or even more salsa!
In a large non-stick pan, coat generously with about 2 tbsp vegetable oil and heat on stove top to medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the tortillas and fry until golden brown. Remove from heat and move tortillas to a paper towel lined plate to soak up any excess oil. Remove any remaining brown tortilla pieces in the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, add the salsa and let cook for a few minutes while stirring occasionally. Add the fried tortilla wedges to the pan and gently turn over until tortillas are coated with salsa. Let cook for a few more minutes until tortillas are thoroughly soaked in salsa, yet still slightly crispy. Remove from heat and move tortillas to the plates. Return the pan to the stove top and fry the eggs. On each plate, top the tortillas with the fried eggs. Top with your choice of favorite toppings like shredded cheese and/or avocado for some extra flavor!
Lemon Alfredo Bowties with Tuna & Peas
1 lb whole wheat pasta
1 cup frozen peas
2 cans tuna
Juice from ½ lemon
(Add lemon zest to bring out more lemon flavor)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ½ cups whole milk
½ stick butter
1 ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
(Mozzarella works great too – Just be sure not to use pre-shredded cheese!)
¼ cup flour
Season with pepper, onion powder, & oregano to your taste
Boil pasta with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10-12 minutes, or suggested cook time on package.
Drain & set aside. In the same pot, heat olive oil at medium high heat and add minced garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until golden. Add tuna and break up into smaller pieces. Add lemon zest and lemon juice, cook for 3 minutes, then add butter and half of the shredded cheese. Slowly add in milk and flour, while stirring well. Turn the heat down to medium and bring to a simmer while stirring often. Add in peas, and the other half of the shredded cheese. Cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring often, then turn off the heat. Slowly mix in the pasta.
Top with more shredded cheese if you like!
Moms and moms-to-be all need savvy, time-saving hacks to save time, be healthy and to maintain sanity.
Infant and toddler moms don’t usually have a lot of spare time. Moms often feel a lot of stress to take care of tiny humans. That’s why we have come up with some great mom hacks to help save time while offering a little piece-of-mind.
Stress for expecting mothers can also be high. What can you eat? What should you not eat? It can be overwhelming. Not to mention, you are creating a human in your belly. That is very tiring.
Now is the perfect time to practice carrying a prepared bag (think diaper bag for moms). Except this bag will be filled with healthy snacks/water for mom. Here are a few ideas for your mom bag: water bottle, dry WIC-approved cereal – which is packed with iron and fiber. Other ideas for your “snack” bag: fresh fruit like bananas or peanut butter on whole wheat bread. Get more information about WIC foods and pregnancy here.
TIME SAVING COOKING HACKS FOR MOMS
Every mom loves a good kitchen shortcut. Here are a few ideas you can use in the kitchen to help you save time or maintain your sanity.
- First up: homemade teething rings. When toddlers start to teeth, it can be painful for your baby and hard on mom. No parent likes a little one to cry in pain. Make homemade teething ring popsicles. The cold pop is perfect for sore gums. Here is a recipe you can use:
BERRY YOGURT POPSICLES
1 ½ bananas (mom can eat the other half)
16 ounces of yogurt (any flavor)
4 ounces of blueberries
Blend all ingredients in a blender until it is very smooth. Place yogurt mixture into popsicle molds. Freeze for at least 6 hours. Keep in the freezer for the next time your child needs a treat.
2. Make pre-made snacks for hungry toddlers. Moms know that one of your main roles as a parent is to give your child healthy foods. It can often feel like a full-time job. For kiddos starting to eat table food, make sure you have easy foods you can grab for a snack or meal when your baby wants to eat. A few great examples are avocados and bananas that can be smashed for smaller children. Pre-cook boiled eggs to have on head in the fridge. These are great for children starting to eat real foods and older kids loo