Health and Nutrition

Mayhem and Messy Play #12: Chocolate Smoothie Messy Play

Since our cooking in the kitchen is often pretty messy, this kids’ chocolate smoothie messy play wasn’t so different, and the messy was yummy and playful.banana chocolate smoothie messy playMaking bread requires hands to be totally involved in the mixing and kneading so it’s not so far-fetched to have a child be really hands-on when making a smoothie. Of course, to make this one Little Sister did wash her hands well.

banana chocolate smoothie messy play

Once kids have washed their hands, have them peel a banana. Place the banana on a freshly cleaned tray or big plastic plate. With fingers, kids squish and smooth the banana until it’s all mushed up, almost like finger paint. Since their hands and the dish are clean, they can smooth the banana around and draw in it if they want. With fingers or spoon, they can also add in some thick, creamy yogurt and mix it in with the banana. Once kids have played sufficiently with this mess, they scoop up the banana yogurt mush and put it in a glass or cup. They may need some help getting the good stuff off the tray.

banana chocolate smoothie messy play

Before going on to the next part, Little Sister wanted to wash her hands because her fingers were so slippery. We poured some chocolate milk into the cup with the banana and yogurt mixture. Using a small whisk, Little Sister stirred it together. It was smooth enough to drink, but not as much fun as slurping it off the whisk. This was a variation on licking-the-beater but fit better in her mouth.

banana chocolate smoothie messy play

Messy play is often very sensory, and this chocolate smoothie messy play activitywas both. At first, Little Sister liked the feeling of squishing the banana but then wanted to wash it off.  Much like adults do with dough. Food preparation often includes making a mess and cooking with kids helps them develop a positive connection to food and encourages healthy choices. After this, washing up was another sensory experience. Maybe we could say it was de-messy play?

New Year’s Resolution Words #5: Ways to Promote Healthy Eating for Kids

Many adults have made a New Year’s Resolution about eating; kids are picky eaters but there are some great ways to promote healthy eating for kids. This is another post in the New Year’s Resolution in a word series and today’s word is e for Eat.

snacks with kids

One of the simplest, but perhaps not the easiest, is to involve kids in food preparation and cooking. At first, before they are too young to use any tools, kids can help to wash vegetables and fruits. Carrots can turn from something spurned to almost an old friend when kids get to give them a wash and a scrub in the sink. By the way, do you know if a carrot will sink or float in water? Kids can do this quick science experiment when they are washing carrots before a meal. When a little older, kids can use a plastic picnic knife for spreading and cutting something soft, like bananas or grapes. Little Sister loves to help make a fruit salad and eat it all up.

nutritious Easter snack

Another way to promote healthy eating for kids is to make food fun. This means being a little more creative. We turned a black bean dip into dirt and planted some baby carrots. This garden in a dish was more than yummy for eating. Eating dirt never tasted as good as this garden. Ordinarily, a food like chick peas wouldn’t become a favorite treat, but this chocolate chip cookie dough transforms them completely. A popular treat, all this needs is mashed chickpeas, a bit of vanilla, a couple of spoonfuls of a nut butter your family can eat, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips. It might not fool you that this is raw cookie dough, but it doesn’t matter, it’s so good. It’s great by itself or used as a dip. Another dip is yogurt with chocolate also known as mud.

chocolate mud dip for kids

As children become more aware of their bodies and begin developing healthy habits, like brushing teeth and washing hands, we can talk to them about the importance of eating good food. We need to let them know that some choices have lots of sugar and so we only eat them sometimes. Bodies need foods that help them go and grow. Have you made any New Year’s resolution about foods and eating for yourself? Are there some ideas you can add to the list of ways to promote healthy eating for kids?

Olympics #11: Olympic Snacks for Kids – Medals & Rings for Nutrition

This Olympic Snacks for Kids is both fun and nutritious. We can capitalize on the interest of what our bodies can do to encourage healthy snacking.

Olympic snacks for kids

What shape are the gold, silver, and bronze medals? They are circles. The Olympic Rings are round too. To make this snack start with some round crackers. Cover the crackers with some hummus to make gold. An alternative to hummus that still uses chickpeas is chocolate chip cookie dough dip. Combine mashed chickpeas with a couple of spoonfuls of some kind of nut butter, add a bit of vanilla, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips. This is a gold medal with a bonus.

Silver is a bit tricky. Instead of using chickpeas, white peas are lighter in color. Mash them up as you would for hummus with a bit of lemon juice and tahini. Another option is to mix thick yogurt and cream cheese and spread these. Kids can add fruit around the edge to make Olympic rings. Black berries are in season to make the black one. Blueberries are more purple than blue but do tastily. For red, kids can snack as they go on raspberries, slices of red grapes or strawberries, or dried cranberries. We tried red plums. Banana or mango make yellow, and green could be slices of green grape or kiwi.

For a bronze medal, black beans are a darker color. We’ve spooned this dip into a bowl for a garden and dipped in carrots, but it’s good spread on crackers too. Instead of mashing the blackbeans, use a tin of refired ones. They are already smooth. Squeeze in a bit of lime juice and maybe a spoon of salsa.

Cooking with kids is more than fun. Involving them in food preparation has been shown to encourage them to be more aware of what they are eating. Kids become part of the team to prepare food and not just the consumer of the end product. There are lots of math, science, and language skills as extra ingredients. Do you have some other suggestions for Olympic Snacks for kids?

Off to School Toolbox: Where Are Babies From?

Before kids start school, it’s important that parents answer the question where are babies from, rather than have someone else give the information. Uncomfortable as it might be, parents need to establish themselves as the “go-to person” when kids have a question, instead of letting kids ask someone else. Another issue is the correct names … Continue reading Off to School Toolbox: Where Are Babies From?

Cooking with Kids: Watermelon Fruit Pizza #2

This cooking-with-kids activity is fun enough to do twice in one week. Remember the question from Pizza #1 about what other fruit we could use? Well, here it is: Watermelon Pizza #2 in red, white, and blue. For such simple ingredients, it looks bright and colorful, and can be used for holiday celebrating or any … Continue reading Cooking with Kids: Watermelon Fruit Pizza #2

Cooking with Kids: Watermelon Fruit Pizza #1

Cooking with kids is an awesome–and tasty–way to combine fun, learning, and family time, plus encourage healthy eating. This watermelon pizza is a great way to celebrate the start of summer! According to the calendar, Summer starts June 21st if you live in the top half of the planet, but in North America the first … Continue reading Cooking with Kids: Watermelon Fruit Pizza #1

Easter Bunny Snack

Today’s kindergarten readiness learning and fun play-of-the-day is brought to you by the Easter bunny, who has a snack in his basket. Somehow, despite all the other foods that rabbits eat, when asked most kids will say they eat carrots. This Easter bunny shares a snack of some carrots, celery, and dip. Most kids love … Continue reading Easter Bunny Snack

Kindergarten Readiness – Moose on the Loose

An apron in a store window said “Let’s make a moose in the Kitchen. What a great idea so today’s tip is a quick, Non-messy fun with kids project. Let your munchkin help you wash some fruit, an apple, orange, strawberries, etc. Bananas are a good soft fruit for practicing slicing, using a plastic knife. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Moose on the Loose