One of the best ways to get your kids eating healthily is to get them cooking in the kitchen themselves. It gives them a better idea of what’s nutritious and what isn’t. Not only that, if you get them into the habit of cooking fresh and from scratch at an early age, it’s a great habit to have. Habits can be hard to break and they are likely to carry this habit on into adult life. Furthermore, you are encouraging them to try different things and to be creative with healthy snacks.

As well as all the health and lifestyle benefits, don’t underestimate the fun factor you can have cooking with the kids in the kitchen. There’s plenty of choice too. There are recipes that don’t require you to use the stove top or oven at all. And there are recipes that will need a bit of supervised work with the stove top and/or the oven.

Healthy Snacks: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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Don’t panic – we’re not cooking caterpillars here! Generations of children have loved the story of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle over the years. In fact, it’s a book that has sold over 50 million copies since first being published back in 1969. Most of us are able to picture the front cover of the book instantly. And, if you think of that image, you will have an idea of what this snack is all about – a caterpillar of mini sandwiches!

Simply lay out two slices of bread on a chopping board and butter both pieces. Put ham on one of the slices of bread and cover with the other buttered piece to form a sandwich. Repeat the above process with fillings of your choice. From salad to cheese, chicken, peanut butter or another spread; the choice is yours.

Next, use a cookie cutter to cut out five circles from each sandwich. Place them on a plate in the wiggly shape of a caterpillar, alternating the filling of the sandwiches if you like. Put a tomato at the start of the caterpillar’s body for its head. Cut two very small ovals from a slice of cheese. These will become the caterpillar’s eyes. Dab a little butter between the tomato and cheese to glue the eyes on. Cut the green stalks from two spring onions and cut two tiny pieces from the ends for the pupils. Use butter, again, as a glue. Finally, use a toothpick, to stick the two onion stalks to the tomato. These will look great as the caterpillar’s feelers.

There you have it! Fun Very Hungry Caterpillars sandwiches – the perfect snack for a summer party kitchen table.

Two ingredient muesli bars: Great healthy snacks

You won’t find an easier recipe for muesli bars than these incredibly tasty treats. There are only two ingredients for a start: muesli and condensed milk. Simply put 375 grams of muesli and a can of condensed milk into a Lamington-style tin lined with baking paper and mix together well.

Press the mixture down into the tin and place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C. Bake for 25 minutes until the top has started to turn golden.

Remove from the oven and leave to stand for about ten minutes. Once the mixture has cooled slightly, cut up into bars. These tasty bars are fantastic healthy snacks. They can be kept in an airtight container for at least a week.

Be aware that if you use high quality muesli, it will really make a difference. You should look out for muesli with high seeds, fruit and nuts content. This gives you the best taste but it will also give your kids the best energy boost too.

Bananas make the perfect summer smoothie

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A delicious and healthy start to the day, these easy-to-make banana smoothies are just as good as a cool, refreshing drink for a hot summer afternoon too. Simply put 300ml of skimmed milk, 2 bananas, 200ml of plain yoghurt, half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a tablespoon of honey and a handful of ice cubes into a blender.

With all the ingredients in a blender, ensure that the honey is the last to be added. Blend thoroughly and pour into two tall glasses. These smoothies are perfect with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon. Of course, you can easily substitute the bananas for other soft fruits. The smoothie will be even healthier if you opt for low fat yoghurt.

Juicy jelly – An easy treat that’s made from scratch

A good way of teaching kids how to eat healthily is to show them that dishes can be made easily in the kitchen from scratch as well as from a packet. This is a recipe with just three ingredients. It’s totally additive-free so fits nicely into the great healthy snacks category.

All you need is 750ml of apple juice, 500g of frozen raspberries and 1 tablespoon of gelatine powder. Place 500ml of the apple juice and raspberries into a medium-sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Next, remove from the heat and whisk the gelatine until it has dissolved. Then stir-through the rest of the apple juice.

Finally, put the juice in the saucepan through a strainer and pour into jelly moulds or a bowl and refrigerate for around four hours to allow to set.

The perfect pasta and pepper summer salad

At sone point, if you are trying to encourage children to eat healthily, it is good to try and move them away from the habit of eating snacks. Healthy snacks or not, it can be the consistent eating between meal times that can cause problems. If somebody gets used to always snacking between meal times, that too becomes a habit.

There will always come a time when you haven’t got healthy ingredients in the house to create a healthy snack right there and then. If the body is craving a snack, this can be where the chocolate, cake and biscuits can fill the gap. This can be where the pounds pile on.

So, it’s always a good idea to show how a light meal can be created – in a short space of time – often with a lot of typical ‘store cupboard’ ingredients. This pasta salad is perfect for the summer. It utilises staples such as pasta and vegetables, such as peppers and onions that you are likely to have to hand in the fridge,.

First, mix together a tablespoon each of olive oil, white wine vinegar and tomato puree, and dried oregano or parsley to make a dressing. Cook 175g of pasta shapes according to the packet instructions. Chop a red and yellow pepper and a red onion and place in a large serving bowl. Halve 12 cherry tomatoes and add to the bowl. Now add the pasta and the dressing and mix well. If you have any to hand, a few olives and some chopped fresh parsley can work brilliantly with this dish.

If you’d like to give your kitchen a bit of a refresh so you can truly enjoy summer cooking adventures with the kids, get in touch with the Kitchen Warehouse team.