After Halloween, talking about healthy food choices is tricky, but there is a way to add some nutrition to Halloween treats and have a fun play-of-the-day with kids at the same time: cooking with Halloween candy.
Cooking with kids can help develop some higher level thinking skills. Following instructions and learning to do steps in order are important strategies for many activities, even for grownups. Some others are: observing, using language purposefully, and checking. There’s math as kids count and measure, and basic science. Heat creates change as does combining different ingredients. All cooks need to pay attention and focus on the activity. Getting distracted or procrastinating can mean burnt cookies. Patience is needed and an awareness of time.
As we involve kids with cooking, they are developing a connection to food in a normal, healthy way. There is also a connection to others, as we work and share together. Children feel good about helping and being able to contribute their effort to the family. They also learn that are benefits to hard work and anticipate a tasty outcome. Besides the social and emotional benefits, there are physical ones. Cooking requires lots of action and energy.
There are other baked goodies to make with leftover Halloween treats like brownies and blondies. To decrease the amount of sugar, you can also make Monster Munch. Combine small bits of a treat with popcorn, nuts, pretzels, plain cereal, seeds, small cracker shapes, and other finger foods in a small container. Kids still feel like they have had a treat but only some of it has been sweet. Do you have a favorite recipe to share for using leftover Halloween candy and treats.
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