Today marks the last day of classes for many schools across the country before they start Winter Break. Here in Minnesota, Midwest Food Connection educators are teaching their last food education classes until after the new year. With a couple of weeks to relax, we wanted to share a few healthy recipes for kids that you can try during the break.
Getting kids involved in the kitchen and exposing them to healthy foods are some of the best ways to teach kids about eating healthy. Try out some of these easy recipes for kids during the holiday break!
1. Wild Rice
What is wild rice? The answer has a deep connection to roots here in Minnesota. Wild rice is a native Minnesota food, traditionally harvested by Indigenous people. Among midwest dinner recipes, wild rice is a notable one in our region. It’s also a great healthy food for kids – wild rice is a favorite in our classes!
Wild rice is one of the best recipes for kids to learn about Minnesota food history and acknowledge the connection between the planet, the food we eat, and their bodies. This wild rice recipe is intentionally simple, allowing kids to taste the wild rice without added flavors.
- ½ cup wild rice (lake-grown cooks faster)
- 1 tbsp oil
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ cups water
You will need to use a skillet or another pan, so adult supervision is necessary for this recipe. Start by heating the oil and sauteing the rice so it is warm and toasty. Add water and bring to a boil, then add the salt and cover the pan. Check the rice after 10 minutes and add water if there is almost no water left. Cook the rice for a total of 20 minutes and serve.
Ideas for kid participation: measuring, stirring, and of course, eating! While the rice is cooking, watch this video about the wild rice harvest to learn about the significance of wild rice and how it is harvested.
2. Herb Butter
Herb butter may not sound like the healthiest food. However, making and tasting herb butter shows kids that fresh food tastes good. It also teaches them about the fresh herbs they can use in healthy cooking.
The herb butter recipe below is easy for kids to prepare, which maximizes children’s involvement. Plus, herb butter with fresh bread is a delicious addition to any family meal.
- Softened salted or unsalted butter (as much as you want to make)
- A few leaves of your favorite fresh herbs (rosemary, parsley, basil, oregano, dill, thyme, mint, chives, or any of your favorite herbs will work for this recipe)
- Bread or crackers to spread butter on
Cut or tear herbs into small pieces. Spread your butter out across a plate. Add your herbs and fold them in (a spoon works well for this step). Spread your finished butter on crackers or bread. If you aren’t sure what to serve your butter on, a sliced baguette is our go-to!
Ideas for kid participation: tear herbs, spread out butter, fold in herbs, and spread on bread or crackers. This recipe can be done almost completely by kids. If necessary, an adult will need to help chop the herbs (tearing may not break herbs up enough) and slice the bread.
Ambrosia is one of many healthy snack recipes. For kids, ambrosia is another recipe that shows kids that healthy eating tastes good. It’s sweet, easy for kids to make, and versatile – use it as a snack, side, or breakfast food! Learn how to make ambrosia with the simple recipe below.
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp natural maple syrup
- 1-2 dashes of cinnamon
- Fresh fruit or granola (optional)
Mix the first four ingredients together – and you’re done! Add fresh fruit or granola if you choose, and serve. If you’re looking for healthy breakfast recipes for kids, adding fruit or other ingredients can make this recipe more of a meal than a snack.
Ideas for kid participation: Ambrosia is a very kid-friendly recipe; oftentimes, kids can make this recipe on their own. Have them measure the ingredients and mix them together. If you choose to add fruit, adults may be needed to help cut the fruit.
Recipes for Kids: Introduce Kids to New Foods at Home
Making kid-friendly recipes during their break from school is one of the best family holiday activities. For kids, cooking healthy at home is a way to supplement what they’re learning in the classroom. Or, if your kids don’t get food education at school, getting them involved in the kitchen can expose them to more healthy foods and allow them to taste new flavors.
From our perspective, getting kids to eat healthy isn’t about forcing them to eat their vegetables. It’s about introducing them to fresh, local, and delicious foods that get them excited about eating well, for their bodies and the planet. Try out some of these recipes with the kids in your life and let us know how it went in the comments!
Midwest Food Connection teaches food education in classrooms across the Twin Cities and beyond. We help students build relationships with their food, and understand how their food choices connect to their environment and community. Through exploring new foods, healthy cooking, and gardening, kids get excited about learning how to nurture their bodies and the environment.