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November 14, 2019

12 Kid-Friendly Holiday Recipes

Check out a few of my favorite secretly healthy, kid (and mom) -approved recipes. I have always adored the holiday season because it brings together two of my favorite, most meaningful subjects: family and food! Not only is cooking together a great way to bond with a child, but it also offers so many teachable moments on math and measuring, the five senses, health, culture and much more.

Check out a few of my favorite secretly healthy, kid (and mom) -approved recipes.

I have always adored the holiday season because it brings together two of my favorite, most meaningful subjects: family and food! Not only is cooking together a great way to bond with a child, but it also offers so many teachable moments on math and measuring, the five senses, health, culture and much more. Following a recipe gives kids the structure and confidence they need and crave to help them feel useful and special. Plus, the memories will last a lifetime—I know they have for me!

However, let’s be real: Holiday food isn’t exactly known for being the healthiest. Be it sugar cookies or that extra-salty, extra-cheesy hash-brown casserole, holiday meals and snacks have traditionally been designed for comfort and indulgence—which are also super important (hello second helping of casserole), but not entirely practical for every meal or dish. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite fun, easy (and, yes, healthy) recipes perfect for you and your little one to prepare together. Bon appétit!

Breakfast

Eggs in a Basket

Though breakfast might be the last thing that comes to mind when preparing a holiday meal, it shouldn’t be dismissed! Kicking the morning off with a simple and rewarding activity is a great way to start the day. This quick and easy eggs in basket recipe is hearty, healthy and low-maintenance, while still allowing kids to get creative in cutting out a shape in the toast. Christmas trees, a pumpkin, a star or a heart are a few classic cookie-cutters that work perfectly!

Healthy Pumpkin Oat Breakfast Cookies

I love this recipe because it allows you to answer the question, “Cookies for breakfast?!” with a resounding “Yes!” This hands-on recipe is healthy and provides both flavor and nutrition. Oats and pumpkin puree are rolled and topped with sweets like dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips, as well as crunchy bits like pepitas. Give the gift of a healthy ‘dessert-first’ day!

Appetizers

Festive Veggie Trays

Veggie trays are a holiday get-together classic—but did you know they can also become works of art? These fun and nutrient-rich tray ideas put a fun spin on a holiday favorite for guilt-free mindless snacking. Let your little one help come up with a theme and then assist in arranging the vegetables on a platter. They’ll love showing off their work, and parents will love the lack of a sugar overload.

Meatloaf Muffins

This cute meatloaf muffin idea is a perfect appetizer for holding over the hunger before it turns into hanger. Not only do these offer a fun and easy way to cook with kids, but they won’t spoil an appetite before the main course. I love swapping out ground beef for ground turkey just to give them that extra ‘oomph!’ of healthiness!

Sides

‘Pumpkin’ Mac N’ Cheese Cups

The name of the game here is all about portions. These mac and cheese cups are great for so many reasons: A whole tray can make the perfect side for the entire kids’ table, they’re shaped to look like a pumpkin, and they offer a helping of cheesy goodness in the perfect size! Kids will love mixing in the cheese with the noodles, scooping into the muffin tin, shaping their pumpkins, and most of all—eating from their ‘pumpkin patch!’

Breadstick Snails

Rolls are a staple found at almost any holiday dinner table, so these snail-shaped rolls are a great task for a child to take ownership of. Unlike classic bakery rolls, these call for breadstick dough and involve rolling one end to create the look of a snail. Add on a couple of shredded carrots for antennae and voilà!

Healthy Herb Stuffing

This recipe works well as both a side dish and as preparing the stuffing for a turkey main course. While the adults clean and ready the turkey, the kids can be mixing together this recipe and helping to stuff the bird for cooking.

Main Dishes

Turkey Lasagna

My family is Italian, so I love the idea of incorporating the tastes and dishes of our heritage into our holiday meals! It doesn’t have to all be turkey and stuffing, or you can switch it up year-to-year—that’s what’s so great about cooking together and creating traditions as a family and with your kiddo. This lasagna recipe gives the hearty Italian dish a healthy flair by using homemade tomato sauce, whole grain noodles and lean ground turkey. Kids can layer each ingredient step-by-step to create the perfect main course. Make it your own by adding extras like spinach. And yes, there’s still lots of cheese!

Ham with Glaze and Pineapple

Aside from the glaze, your little chef’s assistant will help you make, this main dish is so easy it almost makes itself. Together, whisk up the glaze, apply it to the ham, and let your helper top the dish off with pineapple rings. Letting them add a cherry on top before serving might just be, well, the cherry on top of a fun experience!

Dessert

Cinnamon Apple Chips

Use this dish as a sweet post-dinner snack or even as a side to your meal. A sprinkle of cinnamon gives this fruity treat a pop of flavor, and the ring shape makes it fun to eat.

Apple Lollipops

This takes apples in a different direction, by combining the idea of a caramel apple with a cake pop—a perfect compromise! Like sugar cookies, these offer a great way for children to express creativity, and the decorations can be changed to suit any holiday, theme or time of year.

Gingerbread House

Here is one area it’s hard to be healthy, but that shouldn’t stop you from embarking on this time-honored tradition! Plus, remember: the candy, frosting, sugar and gingerbread usually aren’t even eaten—they’re just building and decorating tools. This is a sweet way to spend time together while letting little ones’ imaginations run wild with their candy-fueled fantasies, and in this recipe, you can even make your gingerbread from scratch. If that feels a little lofty, a supermarket kit works just as well! Whatever is easiest for you—children will treasure time together regardless.

What are some of your favorite kid-friendly and healthy meals to make as a family? For more recipe ideas, check out these five comfort food recipes to make or take to a mom-friend who needs a little pick-me-up.


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