Thursday, January 18, 2018

Cooking with Kids!

Cooking with kids is a great way to foster life skills. Whether nannying or parenting helping kids make healthy snacks is a plus for teaching them about healthy eating. There are many children who are gluten intolerant and healthy snacks for them require more diligence. So, I chose this recipe to ensure everyone can use It. If the child in your care is allergic to almonds you can use any nut.

One of the best snacks in my opinion must include two of the four food groups three if possible. This dual recipe gets dinner and snacks made at the same time. While  allowing you to teach kids about the advantages and disadvantages of buying convenience foods. What I mean by convenient food is the buying of shredded carrots to make a carrot salad verses buying whole carrots and shredding them yourself.  There is a cost for convenience.

This recipe is spinach and cheddar quiche. You are going to work on making a large one for dinner while the children make mini ones for healthy snacks. Teaching children lessons about how things are priced and what you are really buying when purchasing food can help them better understand how they are spending money. Before you start cooking go buy your ingredients. I want you to buy frozen and fresh spinach, whole almonds and slivered almonds, whole nutmeg and ground  nutmeg, and eight ounces each of whole and shredded Cheddar cheese. Start this activity by asking children to look at the whole objects verses the those which have been made more convenient then ask which they think was less expensive and why? You can discuss this while you prep your ingredients. This way as you cook you can move from one step to the next without having to stop. You will need more preparation as you (nanny or parent) are using the whole ingredients.

While you begin this cooking activity ask kids, what is a healthy snack? Discuss your thoughts as you cook.

 Here is what you will need.

Crusts (divide in half to use for both recipes.)
Six cups of roasted almonds
½ cup of almond meal/flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of melted butter

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor pulse the nuts until you have small pieces. You can have the children do their in batches using a small processor. Put pieces in a bowl and add ½ cup of melted butter, ¼ cup of almond meal and salt. Stir until mixed. Pour into pie tin, kids should use a tablespoon to put into the mini muffin pan. Press nut mixture into the tins forming a crust. Place into oven and  partake for five to six minutes. Remove and let cool.

Filling (divide ingredients in half for both recipes)
8 eggs
2 cups of milk
½  sweet onion
½  teaspoon nutmeg
20  ounces of Spinach
16  ounces cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Light sprinkle of Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop onion using the food processor. Defrost frozen spinach and wring out excess water. (This is fun for children. It allows them to use their muscles as they prepare a healthy snack. 💪🏽)
(Depending on the age of your children nanny's may want to make the filling on the stove and let children hand them the ingredients to put in the skillet.)

Add  two tablespoon of oil to a nonstick skillet heat over medium heat. Once the oil is warm if using red pepper add first. Then add onion and cook until translucent about three minutes. Add spinach stirring to incorporate onions into spinach (add salt and pepper sparingly as you are also going to salt and pepper the eggs). Let mixture  warm through about five minutes. Set aside to cool. While spinach cools break 4 eggs into a bowl,  add one cup of milk and salt and pepper to taste beat until uniform in color. Set aside.

Put your cooled spinach mixture in the bottom of your crusts. Add a layer of cheddar on top. (save some for the top) Then pour your eggs on top. This activity for kids have them, use a ½ teaspoon of spinach in each mini crust. Then use a spouted cup measure to fill the mini crust with the egg mixture fill the mini cups to just below the cups edge. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. The minis will bake faster so be. Sure to check at 30 minutes. They are done when the eggs have a lightly golden color.

While they bake go ahead and clean up. Take out your receipt from shopping and show the children what you paid.

There are things to think about before doing this healthy snack activity with kids.  For instance, in most cases it is better to buy the whole like with whole verses shredded carrots. However, spinach is an exception. Pound per pound you save over $2.00 buying frozen over fresh. Also, since most spinach is picked, cooked and frozen the same day it is nutritionally richer. So, if you are cooking with spinach it is actually better to buy the frozen. This is also a good time to talk about comparison shopping. (Next time you are running errands with the children pick an item and note what the same item cost in differing places.) We often decide where we are going based on cost and convenience. Think about some examples which fit your lifestyle and local area. This conversation should be a give and take make sure you are asking open-ended questions (questions which have more than one answer or that give children room to think outside of the box-example from earlier. What is a healthy snack?). Then  listen carefully to the answers children can surprise you. I have learned many a thing from the pre-school generation and I expect to continue doing so. Teaching kids life skills while cooking is a great habit to form. Often, children feel more comfortable talking while  cooking. It tends  to be easier  to open up. Parents and Nannies who practice teaching life skills while cooking  with kids often find it is during these times are where children open up  and talk. There are any benefits to teaching children about healthy snacking, it is only limited by the nanny or parent planning the activity with kids. Another article which can offer you some help.

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