Do you ever notice that kids often times want to be involved in what you’re doing? One of my favorite times to include my little ones into daily household tasks is during meal times. Kids love what goes into cooking: exploring food items, prep work, creation, taste tests, and of course, messes! This is a great way to get your kids into a real life routine, learn the ins and outs, and help them try new things! Each meal listed here allows you and your child to choose from a variety of options to include in the meal, making everyone happy. Let your kiddo help with the grocery shopping for these dishes. Whether placing a pick up order or in store, let them help decide what ingredients they would like in their mealtime creations.
*Did you know? Exposing children to a variety of foods, such as in meal preparation, increases the likelihood of them tasting, and hopefully liking, a wider variety of foods? This is a great method to use with picky eaters.
Here is a full day’s menu of kid friendly, easy recipes to get your little ones involved-
Breakfast: Rainbow Fruit Salad and Monkey Bread
This fruit salad is incredibly easy! What you’ll need:
- At least 4-5 different colored fruits: Think mandarin oranges, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, plums, peaches, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, red and green grapes, banana slices, pineapple, apple slices, or kiwi
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1 lime, juiced
- large serving platter to arrange the salad
Mix the juice of one lime and 2 tablespoons of honey, set aside. Dice up your choice of fruits into bite-sized pieces. Arrange each fruit on the plate, alternating in an arc/rainbow shape. Bonus points if you’re able to get a ROYGBIV lesson in! Once you have your rainbow, drizzle a layer of honey-lime dressing over the fruits for a bit more flavor. This will also help certain fruits from turning brown. Chill until ready to serve.
Now for Monkey Bread:
- 2 16 oz cans of refrigerated flakey biscuit dough
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup melted butter
- Bunt pan, or 9×13 baking dish will do
- 2 mixing bowls; 1 small, 1 medium
Preheat your oven to 350 and grease your baking dish. In medium mixing bowl, mix together white sugar and cinnamon. Open up the cans of dough and begin to dice the biscuits into quarters. Toss the biscuit quarters into the cinnamon-sugar mixture until well coated. Arrange the biscuits into your baking dish and sprinkle the remaining mixture over the biscuits. In the small mixing bowl, mix together the brown sugar and butter, then pour over biscuits. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.
Let you kiddo grab their plate and dish out the colorful fruit and sweet bread for a delicious breakfast! Save leftover fruits for a fun treat recipe to come!
Lunch: Veggie Pasta Salad with Chicken or Shrimp (serves 6)
What you will need:
- 1 box pasta noodles of your choice (rainbow rotini is a fun choice)
- Veggies of your choosing. Ones that pair well are chopped broccoli crowns, diced bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, green onion, shaved carrots, avocado, or cucumbers
- 1/2 oz (1/2 packet) of dry Italian or Ranch dressing mix; whichever you choose
- 3/4 cup of olive oil (or sour cream or mayo, for a creamier pasta dressing)
- 1-2 cups of cooked chicken or shrimp
- large mixing bowl
Begin to cook your chicken or shrimp as you would like. Both stove top in a skillet or on the grill are good options. In the meantime, start to boil pasta according to box directions. Chop your veggies up small in order to add to your pasta and set aside. There is no exact science here to how much you add; it’s up to you! In the mixing bowl, add 1/2 packet of dry dressing packet to the mixture base of your choosing, oil, mayo, or sour cream and whisk well. When pasta is done boiling, drain in colander while running cool water over it for about a minute in order to cool some. Pour pasta into the bowl with dressing mixture. Once your protein is done cooking, chop into bite sized pieces and add it to the bowl with the pasta. Grab those veggies and add them in, too. Toss all ingredients together until well mixed. Serve!
Tip – make a larger batch to keep in the fridge for up to one week for an easy lunch. And save those leftover veggies for a fun dinner idea coming up!
Dinner: Masterpiece Pizzas
Why not let your kiddo help decide what to add to their pizza tonight? Let them pick pizza toppings they like: meats, veggies and fruit. You will arrange them in fun patterns and see whose got the best looking one! You can make rainbow designs, trees, or happy faces, be creative!
What you’ll need:
- Store bought mini pizza crusts, such as Boboli, 1 crust per person (so everyone can create their own)
- 1 14 oz jar of prepared pizza sauce
- 16 oz bag of shredded Mozzarella or Italian Cheese Blend
toppings of your choice: meats, veggies, fruit, herbs and spices- utilize those leftover veggies from earlier!
There really is no science here! Simply spoon sauce onto the pizza crusts and smooth about, sprinkle on cheese, then start to create those masterpiece pizzas. Think of it as your blank canvas as you add your toppings. Bake them until cheese is melting and bubbling some. Snap pictures for fun and post to social media for a little masterpiece pizza contest!
Treat time: Fruit and Cream Popsicles (6 popsicles)
What you’ll need:
- 4 cups of cut fruit- again, your choice here! We are fans of banana-berry cream pops or orange pineapple cream pops!
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1/4 cup of honey
- popsicle mold
Blend all ingredients well in the blender and pour into popsicle mold. Set in freezer until frozen solid and enjoy!
Super Summer Sipper: Watermelon Lemonade (about 6 servings)
Sweet and summery, this is an easy one to make and then savor while out playing in the yard!
What you’ll need:
- 4 cups of cubed seedless watermelon
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 cups of water
- 1 cup of fresh squeezed juice from lemons (about 6 lemons)
- mesh strainer
Bring water to a low boil in saucepan and add in sugar to dissolve, then let cool a bit. Blend the watermelon well in the blender. Strain the juice to remove some sediment and add juice to the pitcher. Add in the juiced lemons to the pitcher. Once the sugar water has cooled some, add to the pitcher and take a long spoon to stir the lemonade well. Add in lots of ice to cool and then serve!
Happy summer days ahead! I hope you’re able to cook up some sweet memories with your family.