If you’re anything like us at toucanBox HQ, you may have overindulged just a little over the Christmas period. At this time of year many of us are making New Year’s resolutions that we are all (desperately) hoping to keep. Some of ours include exercising at least three times a week, starting to learn French (luckily, we’ve got quite a few French-speakers in the office that are willing to lend a hand) and eating healthily.
With that in mind, we’ve been getting busy in the kitchen and have come up with a tasty recipe that will satisfy sugar cravings while keeping your new year’s resolutions intact.
A sure-fire way to get kids excited about eating healthy food is to get them involved in making it. While we don’t recommend letting them loose with the knives, there are plenty of learning opportunities for children that you can make the most of whilst cooking together.
1 <h3>Weighing up the maths</h3> Let your little one weigh out ingredients. Younger kids can practice counting and number recognition, while older children can improve their addition and subtraction. Get them to pause at various points in the measuring process and ask them how many more grams they need to get to the right weight. If they’ve poured out too much, how many grams will they have to put back in the packet to get to the correct amount?
Compare the same weights of different ingredients. Why do the piles of ingredients look different?
If you’re using a recipe, encourage your little one to read the steps out loud to practice their reading skills. If they’re not quite at this stage yet, reading the steps together will help with their word recognition.
Stirring, measuring and slicing (with plastic knives ideally) are excellent ways for your little one to improve their fine motor skills. (Teachers report that some children begin school without the motor skills and muscle development in their fingers that is required to be able to hold a pen and use scissors. Cooking together will help develop these necessary fine motor skills.)
If your little one has contributed to the cooking, they’re much more likely to try new foods and flavours. Take this opportunity to talk to them about how the food they are cooking grows and which food groups they fit into.
Cooking together with your child can help to increase their confidence as they learn to do new tasks. Acknowledge their accomplishments by naming the dish after them, for example “Sarah’s Spaghetti Bolognese”! If they’re called Sarah, that is.
It can be difficult enough to get kids to eat fruit, and especially at this time of year when they’ve got used to a festive diet of advent calendar chocolates and sweeties smuggled to them by grandma. To ease everyone back into the healthy-eating swing, we’ve come up with this delicious recipe that provides a healthy source of carbohydrates and protein.
1 Slice the apple into rings. You might want to do this before you get the kids involved. You could add a little splash of lemon juice to the apple slices to stop them going brown as you piece together your creations.
2 Use a cookie cutter to cut out the centre of each apple ring.
3 Spread peanut butter onto each apple ring.
4 Scatter chocolate sprinkles onto each apple ring.
4 Tuck in, and feel a little less guilty about it!