Are you tired of making the same old same old for dinner every week? Maybe it’s time to switch up your menu and infuse mealtime with a bit of fun by getting the kids involved. The following recipes are easy enough to make as a family. Plus, they’re super fun and nutritious, so don’t be surprised if one or two end up becoming new family favorites.
1. Peanut Butter Protein Balls
If your kids are young or have super short attention spans, try whipping up a quick batch of protein balls. Between stirring the ingredients and rolling the mix into bite-size balls, your little ones will have just the right amount of structured playtime. Plus, they’ll have a delicious and nutritious snack to show for it.
Simply mix peanut butter, protein powder, rolled oats, honey and whatever other add-ins you’d like in a large bowl. Dried fruit, nuts, seeds and chocolate chips are all great choices, but your kids might want M&M’s or coconut shavings instead. Take turns mixing the dough with your hands or a wooden spoon. Then, roll into bite-size balls and enjoy!
2. Avocado Egg Salad Sandwiches
Maybe it’s hot outside and you don’t want to light up the oven to make lunch. Now’s the perfect time to try out this recipe for avocado egg salad sandwiches. From mashing eggs to watching the salad turn green, your little ones will love making this tasty meal.
Gather your ingredients and add them to a large mixing bowl. Use a potato masher or, better yet, your hands, to squish everything together. Once everything’s coated in avocado, wash your hands and layer the finished product between two slices of bread. This delicious mix tastes just as good in crunchy leaf lettuce wraps, so feel free to nix the carbs and go green.
3. Mini Pepper Pizzas
Who doesn’t love a freshly baked pizza, especially their own personal pan? The only downsides are the calorie count and an energy spike when the carbs turn to sugar in your kids’ tummies. Luckily there’s a healthier alternative — mini pepper pizzas! This recipe is so much fun to make. With so many options for topping combinations, you’ll have little trouble convincing each member of the family to make their own.
All you need are a few bell peppers, some olive oil, pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese and your favorite toppings. Preheat your broiler on high and position the oven rack about six inches from the flame. Halve the peppers lengthwise, remove the membranes and seeds and let the kids fill each one with sauce, cheese and toppings. Broil five minutes and serve.
4. Pancake Animals
Whoever said you shouldn’t play with your food must have never made pancake animals. These cute little breakfast buddies are easy to assemble and super fun to make when you let the kids involved. All you need is your favorite pancake mix and a big imagination.
Mix the batter and let your little ones pour it into a skillet to make pancakes of various sizes. Then, layer them on top of one another to create bears, owls and even lions. Use strawberries, bacon, grapes, apple slices and chocolate chips to add eyes, snouts, mouths, wings and paws. Incorporate whatever you have on hand and prep the ingredients beforehand for even easier assembly.
5. Spaghetti Nests
Springform pans are good for more than just baking cakes. With a little creativity and some help from the kids, you can put together cute spaghetti nests. This recipe yields four nests, each one full of essential nutrients like folate, iron, fiber and vitamins A, C and K. Plus, they look incredibly realistic, which is all part of the fun.
First, cook the pasta until tender but still firm to the bite. Add the noodles to a bowl with spinach, cheese, oil and salt. Toss until the spinach wilts and set aside. Beat the parmesan, milk, salt and egg in a bowl and pour the sauce over the spaghetti mixture. Twirl the pasta around tongs and distribute it between your springform pans. Make an indentation in the middle of each and bake. Serve atop a plate of red sauce and add the mozzarella balls to give the nests “eggs.”
Bonding in the Kitchen
Making meals together as a family presents plenty of opportunities to bond with your partner and kids. As you chop, mix and broil, try to stay present and attentive to what your loved ones are chatting about. Engage with your little ones, show them the ropes as you work together in the kitchen and have fun. If you’re patient and prioritize learning, you’re sure to create delicious meals and memories that’ll last a lifetime.