They want to eat. ALL. THE. TIME. I clean up breakfast and they ask for a snack. They stand in front of an open fridge, dig through the pantry, and leave counters strewn with their debris. I’m going to padlock the kitchen pretty soon (oh, right, open concept house design …. ). Have mercy.
When my kids were little, I marvelled at the thought that they would someday be better than me at something. I hoped that something would be cooking, and I’ve been working to that end ever since, with some success. The kids are now 12, 14, and 16 and are reasonably able to find their way around a kitchen. Since they’ve been home more with COVID, I’m convincing them to pitch in a little more with food prep. By convincing, I mean taking away screen-time if they don’t; they find that very convincing. We found some easy snacks or lunches that kids can make, giving you a brief break from the kitchen. My twelve-year-old says she loves these options because they’re easy to make and fun to eat. I can’t guarantee the state of your kitchen afterwards, but desperate times and all that.
A picture of these edible mouths made me smile, and these apple smiles are something almost any age can make – depending on your peanut-butter-mess-tolerance. Lightly spread apple slice with peanut butter and place a few mini marshmallow teeth inside. Kids who are missing a tooth can make a matching mouth. White mini marshmallows are obviously best for aesthetic reasons, but I can’t do everything. Kids of any age can also help prepare and put together a fruit salad for a healthy treat. Add a grilled cheese sandwich for a complete lunch. Of course, I flog the vegetables in this house, so I like to put out a plate of veggies and dip and call them crudités, just to be fancy.
The best life hack I have ever learned was finding out that my blender blades will fit onto a standard jar. It has revolutionized smoothie making at my house! Smoothies are a great way to get a treat and get your fruits and vegetables, and the combinations are endless. Pick a base: water, yogurt, or some kind of milk. Pick your fruits and veggies. We tend towards frozen strawberries or blueberries with a little spinach, but banana and avocado give a lovely texture, too. Of course, then you add whatever you want, from maple syrup to chia seeds or hemp hearts, to peanut butter or coconut oil. Yum!
Party bread was my go-to when I had little kids, but no inspiration or energy for supper. Bread, some kind of nut butter, and go wild! We usually use banana slices and raisins and always add sprinkles to make it a party. So easy and the kids loved being creative with it.
Mini pizzas are another great lunch for kids to make themselves and little ones love to help put them together. You can use pitas, English muffins, or even little tortillas, add your toppings, and warm it all up in the oven. Lunch is on the table! (And grated cheese is all over the floor.)
Fried Egg (Or Toad in the Hole)
My kids have been cooking themselves a scrambled egg in the microwave for a few years now, eating it with toast and ketchup. Now they have moved on to frying over-easy eggs, with some success. We will often hear a howl of rage from the kitchen when the yolk breaks upon flipping, but practice makes perfect. Or, at least, good enough. I like to make Toad in the Hole – the American definition of that recipe – where you cook the egg in the middle of the bread.
Lunch is done! Next life lesson: cleaning the kitchen.
What are your go-to lunches for kids?
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