Healthy Recipes For Children

Written by Tricia Au


In earlier posts we have covered different topics around nutrition and the relationship it has with special needs children. We introduced the types of nutritional challenges special needs children face, difference between macronutrient and macronutreint, relationship between food and autistic children as well as methods and suggestions on how to practice healthy eating habits.


Hence, we would like to share some healthy recipes that you and your child can try. Most of the recipes do involve heat, so make sure that your child is supervised when participating in preparing the meals. Engaging your child in preparing the meals can increase their interest and willingness to try out the food. Besides that, the activities can benefit your child’s motor skills, hand eye coordination and language skills.



Chocolate & Dates Snack Bites



Ingredients:


16 medium dates, Medjool

1/2 cup almond butter

1 cup dry oats

1 tablespoon chia seed

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Instructions:

  1. Place pitted dates into the food processor; mix until they become thick and like a paste.

  2. Add almond butter and blend together.

  3. Place date mixture into a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. Shape into 1-inch balls.

  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.


How to involve your child:

  • Involve your child in pouring the ingredients into the blender.

  • You can let your child roll the mixture into 1-inch balls.


Homemade Pizza



Ingredients:


Dough:

3 cups whole wheat flour (regular/white/ mix)

2 ½ teaspoons active yeast

1 ¼ cup warm water

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon wheat gluten (optional but recommended)


Sauce:

14 oz can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 clove of garlic (grated/pinched of garlic powder)


Topping ideas:

Shredded Mozzarella Grated Parmesan Fresh vegetables (bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, etc) Pepperoni/ham/chicken


Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together warm water and yeast, and set aside. The mixture should start to foam after a few minutes.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and wheat gluten (if using). Stir well, then add the water/yeast mixture, olive oil and honey. Stir until a ball forms.

  3. Use your hands to knead the dough for several minutes. (If the dough is too wet, you can add a couple of tablespoons of extra flour so it's easier to handle. But keep in mind that a dry dough won't get as stretchy and light as a wetter dough.)

  4. Form the dough into a loose ball, drizzle a little olive oil on top, and cover the bowl with a clean dish towel. Let the dough rise for 1-2 hours.

  5. When the first rise is finished, punch down the dough (deflate it with your fists) and cut the ball in half. Roll each piece of dough into a new ball, place them in separate bowls, and let them rise for another 30 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 F and prepare your toppings. Mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside, chop any veggies you plan to add, and grate your cheese into piles.

  7. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of whole wheat flour on a clean counter top, then flatten one of the dough balls onto it. Use a rolling pin (a glass bottle works in a pinch) to gently roll the dough into a circle (if you're using a pizza stone) or an oval (if you're using a baking sheet.) Use your fingers to shape the edges into a slight crust. You can also lift up the dough by the crusts and gently turn it to help the dough stretch evenly.

  8. Once the dough is shaped into a crust, place it on the stone or baking sheet.

  9. Rub about 2 teaspoons of olive oil onto the surface of the crust, then add your desired toppings.

  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust becomes brown, and cheese is bubbling.

  11. Slice and serve hot! Repeat the process with your second ball of dough. OR refrigerate or freeze the remaining dough for later.


How to involve your child:

  • Let your child mix the ingredients together.

  • Have your child knead the dough.

  • Let your child roll out a dough with a rolling pin/bottle.

  • If you have extra dough, you can let your child play with it while waiting for the pizza to bake. The dough provides sensory stimulation for the child. You can let your child put in some items (beads/marbles) into the dough and ask them to find the missing items in the dough.


Breakfast Egg Cups



Ingredients:


1 none cooking spray (if you don’t have a cooking spray, use butter)

6 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper (ground)

1 medium bell pepper (red)

3/4 cup spinach

1 ounce cheddar cheese


Instructions:

  1. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray (if you’re using butter, spread some potter onto the muffin tin) and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  2. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Dice the bell pepper into small pieces. Stack the spinach leaves, roll them up, and slice them thin. (This method is called chiffonade.)

  4. Add the peppers, spinach, and shredded cheddar to the egg mixture.

  5. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes until centers are set and no longer runny.


How to involve your child:

  • Ask your child to spray the muffin tin or brush some butter onto each muffin tin.

  • Let your child whisk the eggs together and mix in the chopped ingredients.

  • Pour the egg mixture into a cup so that your child can fill each muffin tins with the egg mixture easily.


Healthy Cheese Balls



Ingredients:


3 Medium russet potatoes

1/2 cup spinach

1 ounce cheddar cheese

1/4 cup cottage cheese

1 large egg

1 cup bread crumbs (plain)

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper (ground)

2 tablespoon avocado oil


Instructions:

  1. Peel and cube potatoes. Add to a saucepan with enough water to cover. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until softened. Drain and allow to cool completely.

  2. Chop spinach and mix together in a large bowl with the potato. Mash together.

  3. Grate cheddar into the potato mixture. Add cottage cheese and lightly whisked egg. Mix until thoroughly combined.

  4. In a shallow dish, mix together bread crumbs, onion powder, salt, and pepper.

  5. Scoop potato mixture by the tablespoon and shape into rounds the size of a golf ball. Roll into bread crumbs and set aside.

  6. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Gently add each cheese ball without overlapping. Cook until golden on all sides.

  7. Place cheese balls onto a plate lined with paper towels.

  8. Cool slightly and serve.


How to involve your child:

  • Your child can mash the potatoes using a potato masher or a fork but make sure the potatoes are cooled before doing so

  • Get your child to mix the potato mixture with the cheese and egg.

  • Allow your child to shape the potatoes and roll it in the dry ingredients.


Mexican Pinwheels



Ingredients:


8 ounce cream cheese

1/3 cup salsa

2 ounce cheddar cheese

1 pound rotisserie chicken

3 stalk green onion

2 clove garlic

1 tablespoon taco seasoning

4 medium tortilla, whole wheat


Instructions:

  1. Put everything but the tortillas in a bowl and mix well.

  2. Spread some of the mixture onto the entire surface of one of the tortillas, and roll it up tightly. Continue with the rest of the tortillas the same way.

  3. Cut the rolled up tortillas into 1 inch sections. They are a little easier to cut when they have chilled in the fridge for about 20 minutes.


How to involve your child:

  • Let your child mix the ingredients in the bowl.

  • You can show your child how to spread the mixture onto the tortillas. Then you and your child can do it together.


Frozen Yogurt Bark



Ingredients:


Yogurt Bark:

500 grams (2 cups) Plain yogurt/ greek yogurt

2 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon cranberries

1 tablespoon raisins


Toppings:

5 freshly chopped strawberries

1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips

1 teaspoon dessicated coconut


Instructions

  1. Mix the yogurt and honey until well combined. Add in the raisins and cranberries and stir well.

  2. Line a baking tray with foil/baking paper and pour the mixture on top. Spread the mixture evenly and depending on how thick you want the yogurt bark to be. Approximately 1 to 2 inches will do.

  3. Sprinkle the strawberries, dark chocolate chips and desiccated coconut on top of the mixture. Allow the yogurt bark to sit in the freezer for about 2 - 4 hours or until it is completely frozen.

  4. Remove the bark from the freezer and break the bark into small pieces. The bark can be stored in food bags in the freezer.


How to involve your child:

  • Get your child to participate in mixing tasks. For instance, mixing the yogurt, honey, raisins and cranberries together.

  • Allow your child to sprinkle the toppings on top of the mixture. You can use other varieties of toppings like coconut chips, almond slivers, sprinkles, etc.

  • Let your child break the yogurt barks using their hands or a rolling pin to smash it lightly.

  • You can ask your child to help you store the frozen yogurt barks into the food bag as well.


Reference:


We hope you enjoyed these recipes! Let us know if you have tried these with your child in the comments below. We would love to hear back from you.


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