CREATING HEALTHY HABITS : PARMESAN KALE CHIPS
Making this recipe was a great to reminder to myself, that it’s been way too long since I MADE KALE CHIPS!! They are so yummy, totally fill that need for a crunchy salty treat, and most exciting is that the kids always love them!!
Kale chips are so easy to make. It is the perfect recipe to get the kids involved with the cooking process.
Today my little preschool chefs were able to help pull kale leaves off of the stems. This is a great way to get them comfortable with the kale. It’s fun to talk to them about the kale looks uncooked and then compare it after the baking process.
We made these kale chips extra special today by adding parmesan cheese. Parmesan is an excellent source of calcium. which is so important to your child’s growing bones. Calcium is essential for achieving peak bone mass and in maintaining overall bone health. All of this makes it a super delicious healthy (in moderation) addition!
The recipe would be a great side to add to hamburgers instead of chips or fries. Or try making them for a snack to share with your child.
PARMESAN KALE CHIPS
HOW TO MAKE THEM:
~ After washing kale, dry thoroughly. Remove leaves from stems. This is a great time to let your little chef join you in the cooking process.
~ Use the spray oil to coat baking pan. Place kale leaves on greased pan. Then spray oil again on top of kale.
~ Sprinkle salt and parmesan cheese on top of coated kale.
~ Place pan in over preheated to 375F. Kale chips cook fast!! Be sure to keep an eye on them but they only need 5 to 7 min.
~ They will turning a golden shade of brown and be crunchy when ready!
~ Take them out of oven and enjoy right away or store in airtight container for about a day to enjoy for a later snack.
creating healthy habits: kale pasta & the battle of the cooking teacher vs. the strong willed picky eater
CREATING HEALTHY HABITS: KALE PASTA
& THE BATTLE OF THE COOKING TEACHER VS. THE STRONG WILLED PICKY EATER
Let’s just start by saying that teaching 3 & 4 year olds how to cook may just be my front. Yes, they learn the basics to creating a meal but cooking class really serves as a way to teach these kiddos so many other things!
It teaches them about social skills like listening, self restraint, and patience. They learn about measuring, comparing and problem solving. We talk a lot about healthy eating and how important proper nutrition is to their growing bodies. Along with all of that, probably the most important thing they learn is that: HAVING FOOD THAT “THEY DON’T LIKE” ON THEIR PLATE WON’T HURT THEM!!
My deal at cooking class is that the preschoolers are the chefs. They are learning to prepare a dish. This means, it’s not about what they like. It’s about learning to prepare a dish that maybe they will like and if not maybe someone else may like. I always try to reinforce the idea that they don’t have to eat anything they don’t care to but I do require them to all make the dish and use specific ingredients. And here is what i can tell you about that: GETTING THE KALE ON THEIR PLATE IS NOT ALWAYS THAT EASY!
I’ve spent the last decade convincing strong willed picky eaters that having something they don’t like on their plate is not the end of the world. I’ve had kids cry, try to cover up their plates and throw giants fits. But at this point I’ve gotten good - it may take some maneuvering but I always manage to get just a little bit of everything on each kids plate. Yes, they sometimes just take it right off the plate. Sometimes they refuse to touch the plate for the rest of class. All of that is totally fine with me. I’m fine with all of that because once they have that dreaded ingredient on their plate, they learn that having it there does not need to be the end of the world. They are being exposed to a food that something in their brain is telling them to be scared of. Most of the time it’s not about them actually not liking something. Most of the time they have never even tried it!! They are just scared of the idea they might not like it.
Once it’s on their plate it’s up to them. They’ve seen it. They’ve been exposed! And maybe they even will try it! And you know what is the most cool part of it all?!! Once they try it, they almost always like it!! I can’t even tell you over the years how many of the same kids I’m sneaking to put a veggie on their plate ends up loving it and eating everything.
My point of sharing this is to give a little hope to you parents of strong willed picky eaters. KEEP TRYING!! KEEP EXPOSING!! KEEP MODELING HEALTHY EATING TO YOUR CHILDREN! Sometimes it just takes time. Maybe they will never love kale but they never know until they try it!
Today’s Kale Pasta recipe made me work a little but I was so happy to see so many kids loving this superfood pasta dish.
Here’s how you can try it at home!
2 cups kale, washed, tear leaves of stems
1/2 c diced sweet peppers
1/2 c feta cheese
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp lemon pepper
8 oz whole grain pasta of your choice
WHAT TO DO:
CREATING HEALTHY HABITS: AVOCADO PASTA
Lately in cooking class, I have been into helping the kiddos create recipes using familiar ingredients. It’s fun to use ingredients that they have used recently to create one kind of recipe - to then turn around and use the same ingredient to create a completely different recipe. It’s a great way to expand their palate and to expose them to a variety of foods while keeping the familiarity of an ingredient they already feel comfortable with.
Last week we created a sweet dish with a secret ingredient, Chocolate Banana and AVOCADO pudding. The avocado was “secret” because you could not taste in mixed in with the other more sweet ingredients.
This week we expanded on that secret ingredient by using avocados to create a pasta dish. The children were not only excited about using an ingredient they were familiar with but they were also excited about a kitchen tool we used the previous week - the blender!! Not only did this recipe model how the same ingredient can be part of two completely different dishes but it showed the children how kitchen tools, like a blender, can be used and are an important part of making a variety of meals.
This recipe turned out great! The kids loved it and I can’t wait to expand on this dish with my own family at home. Using avocado not only added essential omega 3 oils to the recipe but created a creamy sauce without any cream, dairy or butter.
There were lots of requests to send this recipe home to mom and dad - so give it a try!! Feel free to make this recipe your own by experimenting with different types of noodles, adding different vegetables and/or protein. I think this dish would be awesome with shrimp or chicken!!
-5 oz whole grain spaghetti noodles, cooked according to directions
-1 ripe avocado
-1/2 c olive oil
-2 tsp garlic salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1/4 lemon juice
-1 can corn: drained
-1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
WHAT TO DO:
When it comes to cooking with preschoolers, never underestimate the power of adding a secret ingredient!!
I’m sure you all have heard some version of a deceptively delicious recipe. Whether they are adding ingredients such as beans, squash or in this case avocado, slipping in these mega nutrient rich foods is an awesome way to get your little one eating healthy!
MY ONLY SECRET INGREDIENT RULE: LET YOUR KIDDO IN ON THE SECRET!!
Kids love to be part of the cooking process and even better they love to be part of a secret. Tell them all about the extra special, extra healthy ingredient you will be adding to your recipe. Not only will this expose them to that particular secret ingredient but it will hopefully make the dish you are preparing extra fun for them!
Today in cooking class we made Chocolate Banana Pudding and added our secret ingredient avocado!! Avocados are a great addition to any meal providing you and your child with essential fats that are important for keeping healthy. Avocados are also high in fiber aiding in digestion.
This recipe was beyond easy, contains very few ingredients and would make an awesome snack or dessert!
CHOCOLATE BANANA AVOCADO PUDDING
3 LARGE BANANAS
1/4 COCOA POWDER
SPRINKLE OF SALT
2 TSP HONEY
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
CREATING HEALTHY HABITS RECIPE
WHOLE GRAIN CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD
The most important thing I have learned over my past 12 years of teaching programs is how much preschool age children really take in. The good and the bad - really nothing gets by them!
This goes to show you how much using the right kind of language with them is an important part of their learning process. Whether you are trying to teach them social skills (using words like sharing and kindness) or if you are teaching them verbal skills ( pointing out their surroundings). Using positive language is just as important when teaching your children how to make healthy choices regarding their own nutrition. Giving them the tools they need to make healthy food habits as preschoolers will not only help you give power to your child that may be hesitant to try new foods and it will also set up life long positive healthy habits. Proper nutrition really is a valuable life skill to start instilling in your child at an early age!!
Today at cooking class we highlighted the values of starting your day off with a healthy breakfast. As busy parents it’s an important to find a nutritious but easy breakfast. Extra bonus is that it can work for both you and your child!
In comes this fiber & potassium packed banana bread!
Be sure to note the highlighted words as language to use with your child when cooking or even just serving this recipe at home.
Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
(you’ll have your kiddos at chocolate chips!)
1/3 cup olive oil or coconut oil (we used olive oil in class - I love the flavor of olive oil in a sweeter bread)
2 tbsp honey
2-3 ripe bananas (TIP: put overly ripe bananas in the freezer and save for banana bread making time!)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2c whole wheat flour
1/4 c dark chocolate chips
As you share this healthy breakfast with your kids be sure to reiterate some of the highlighted areas. Remind your children about the ingredients they used. Ask them what ingredients they can taste. Remind them what ingredients are extra healthy and how they are making them extra strong!!
Have fun cooking and sharing healthy food with your child!! By doing this you are not only providing them with the proper nutrition for their growing bodies but instilling life long healthy living habits that they will carry with them into adulthood!!