Make baking fun and healthy.
It's a well-known fact that most kids love helping in the kitchen, and with the bonding and educational experiences it brings, baking is a welcome tradition in many families. If it were up to my son, though, the only things we'd bake in our kitchen would be chocolate chip cookies and brownies. And though I completely understand (and share) his sweet tooth, it's my role as a mom to teach him healthy eating - and cooking - habits. Here are seven tips for healthy baking with your children:
1. Bake with vegetables - There's a mystique to vegetables, in that anything becomes edible when it's in a baked product. When baking with your children, add grated or pureed vegetables that your children may not otherwise eat, such as zucchini, spinach, squash or carrots. Not only will this broaden their palate and familiarize the tastes of healthy foods, but children will learn that vegetables can actually taste really delicious.
2. Substitute your oil - Cut out some of the fat in your baking by replacing some of the oil in your recipe with applesauce. Or, if you still want to use oil, use a healthier variety, like coconut oil. Though your children won't notice a difference, you'll appreciate these small healthy substitutions.
3. Add more fruit - Children can learn to develop healthy eating habits by choosing fruit-based foods over others. When baking desserts, add pureed, dried or chopped fruits to your recipes rather than chocolate, caramel, or candies.
4. Go whole grain - When baking, switch to 100% whole wheat flour rather than bleached, enriched white. Add oatmeal to recipes, or other grains, for added health benefits.
5. Add nuts - Almonds, walnuts, pistachios and other nuts are all known to have many health benefits. Try adding a handful of these into each of your recipes for added crunch children will love, plus a health boost you'll appreciate.
6. Avoid unhealthy toppings - Children all too often become accustomed to frosting, glazes, toppings and syrups while baking. Offer healthy alternatives to these toppings, like chopped fruits or nuts, toasted coconut, granola, spices, honey, homemade low-sugar syrups and other nutritious items.
7. Create small portions - If you bake the world's healthiest cookies, but still eat two dozen in one sitting, you've defeated your purpose. After the baking is done, teach your children about healthy serving sizes. Portion out cookies, muffins and baked goods for individual servings, so that your kids won't be tempted to grab five pieces instead of one.
As parents, we all want to teach our children wholesome eating habits; but as they grow and make their own decisions, they must learn healthy baking and cooking habits as well. Start on that path today by making the switch to baking with nourishing foods, and when your children beg to help you in the kitchen, they'll be learning future good habits right now.
Content by Becca Swanson .
Make baking fun and healthy.
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