Peanut Butter Banana Bites

“Looking for a quick and easy after school snack? These peanut butter banana bites are so easy, kids of all ages can easily whip them together! But don’t let them have all the fun! Join in and see what sort of fun you can have together! Stack ‘em high, build a sculpture, get creative and eat!” – Kati Mora, MS, RD

Banana Bites

Peanut Butter Banana Bites

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Serving Size: 4 bites

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • Tbsp peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Slice one banana into bite sized pieces.
  2. Top a slice with a smear of peanut butter, then top with another.
  3. Stack, eat, enjoy!
http://aroundtheplate.org/peanut-butter-banana-bites/

5 Fun Kid-Inspired Kitchen Activities to Kick Off Kids Eat Right Month

Healthy eating isn’t just for grown ups! In fact, learning how to eat well should begin at an early age. At least that’s what we believe here at Around the Plate and this August, Kids Eat Right Month serves as the perfect reminder to make nutrition a family affair.

Child Eating Watermelon

Although there are many different way to promote healthy eating, we believe an essential component to changing the way you eat is by spending more time in the kitchen. The kitchen can be a great place to learn how to cook, spend time together, and learn from each other. It can provide space to nurture and cultivate passion for food exploration; and that is an essential component of becoming a healthy, balanced eater.

If you don’t currently spend a lot of time in the kitchen with kids, you may be looking for a few easy ways to make the adjustment.  To make kitchen time a more natural occurrence for you and your family, we asked a few of our favorite dietitians to share their favorite kid kitchen activities with us.

Related: Get Your Kids in the Kitchen with these Creative Summer Snack Ideas

Make your kitchen a place the entire family wants to be!

Host a family taste test! One of my favorite mom dietitians and co-founder of Foodie Babies, Katie Serbinski, RD, knows all too well the importance of keeping kiddos occupied in the kitchen. With a 10 month old of her own, she’s already beginning to explore ways to introduce new foods, flavors, and pairings. Her advice? Have fun experimenting with new flavors! And who says you have to wait until you’re in the kitchen to start having food fun with young ones? Katie recommends getting the action started right in the grocery store. Talk about different foods before you take them home.

Explore food labels. Who needs a board game when all the action is in your pantry? For older kids, consider setting up a scavenger hunt and send them out on a special mission – to find something healthy or bizarre on one of the food labels located on the back of your stocked foods. Once you all find something to share, talk about it! According to Jessi Boehme, RD, this can be a great way to get the conversation going and is something she covers in the Cooking Matters classes she teaches in Muskegon, MI. After all, before you cook, you should probably know what you’re cooking!

Play with your food. Another great way to have fun in the kitchen? Let your kids play with their food! Although any food may do, Jessica Serdikoff, RD from one of our favorite nutrition-inspired blogs, Floptimism, recommends an avocado for this sort of activity. Kids can be messy, curious, and experimental by discovering how it feels, and then prepping it for a fun and delicious treat. Kids can also take turns stirring and mixing. This helps kids not only get comfortable with a variety of foods, but become more familiar with a variety of tastes and senses

Count Your Veggies. Another simple, mess-free idea for building kitchen creativity involves one of my favorite foods – vegetables! Although, in reality, you could really use any food you’d like. Since veggies are often harder to love though and so important for good health, why not give your kids extra exposure? According to registered dietitian, Elizabeth Shaw, RD, this idea is often well-received by busy parents. Simply get out a few cut up veggies and allow your kids to count them as they place them into a plastic or resuable baggie. Not only will they have a snack-to-go, but they’ll also practice building up important math skills too!

Have open snack night. Another great idea for kids of all ages? I like hosting open snack nights. Yeah, its sort of like open mike night… if the mike were food and you were asked to whip up a quick snack on the fly. Actually, open snack night is pretty easy to pull off and, depending on the age of your children, can be as elaborate or simple as you’d like. Simply choose your ingredients ahead of schedule and put them out on the counter. Encourage everyone in your family to make the most delicious, most creative snack they can think of out of the ingredients provided. Once the snacks have been created, everyone gets to try them and vote on the favorite. For younger kids, you can whip up a few different snack options and then let them see how they like each one. For older kids, let their imaginations run wild!

No matter how you choose to have fun in your kitchen, we hope it will lead to healthy conversations, great social interaction, and an increased likelihood that everyone in the family will try a new nutrient-rich food either that night or in the near future.

What sort of kid kitchen activities have you tried? What do you recommend?

Stop Packing Boring Lunches, And Start Packing Ones That Rock!

Packing a lunch day after day for your kids can get, well, boring. And boring lunches  often end up being wasted lunches. Allow yourself to get creative AND keep the basics intact by making sure you include the following foods on a consistent basis.

Girl with Lunch

What You’ll Need: 

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Whole grains

A fun dessert

As much fresh food as possible

Water

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Source: Brighton Your Health

Healthy Halloween Treats to Enjoy With Your Kids

When it comes to Halloween, its often hard to think of it from a health perspective. It almost seems cruel. After all, its only one night, right? True. But why settle just for candy when you and your kids can enjoy, yes ENJOY, healthy Halloween treats that you make or eat together?

From simple to complex, creating healthy treats for Halloween should add to the overall holiday experience, not take away from it. Since trick-or-treating and candy add so much fun to the holiday, its easy to think that by supplementing or replacing them with healthier fare will result in less fun. This isn’t the case; well, unless you let it be.

So get ready for a little healthy treat fun! And if you need some inspiration, a few of members of thePlate Community already have a few great ideas to get you started.

Chocolate Fruit Bugs from The Fit Cookie

Chocolate Fruit Bugs
credit: The Fit Cookie

Raw Peanut Butter Cups from Delicious Knowledge

Raw Peanut Butter Cups
credit: Delicious Knowledge

Chocolate Halloween Pudding from Nutrition Babes

Chocolate Pumpkin Pudding
credit: Nutrition Babes

Want more healthy Halloween treat ideas? Check out our Pinterest board for some more great ideas!

Get Your Kids in the Kitchen with these Creative Summer Snack Ideas

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Trying to get kids in the kitchen this summer? Or are you lettings kids just grab something from the cupboard and run? Whether you have lots of time or only a little, consider giving one of these hands-on snacks a try. Not only are they nutritious, but they’re so much fun to create that your kids will think its part of a summer adventure you’ve planned rather than just boring old snack time.

Fishing for Gold Fish. Try mashing up blueberries and then combining them with low fat cream cheese and a little milk to make it look a bit like water.  Put whole grain gold fish crackers throughout the “pond” of cream cheese and have them “fish” for their crackers by using thinly cut stalks of celery. 

Rainbow Kabobs. Have the kids make and taste the rainbow by using a variety of fresh fruit picked by them! Make sure they pick all six basic colors of the rainbow and assist you in stacking them together on the kabob sticks. Later, when they’re ready to eat, kids can dunk them in low fat regular or Greek yogurt for an added protein boost.

Veggie Face. Cut up lots of veggies and hand your kids a slice or two of hearty, whole wheat bread. Spread hummus or low-fat cream cheese on top and use the cut vegetables to make goofy and funny faces. Make sure to snap a photo of them mimicking their sandwich’s face!

Need another idea to get your kids into the kitchen and excited about what they’re eating? Consider making “Dip It” snack time foods. The combinations are endless but a few winners I’ve used before are graham crackers in applesauce, animal crackers in pudding, or pretzels in mustard. Having kids dip their food gets them interacting and more excited about eating the end product. If you want to go all out, try making this Easy Caramel Sauce from Sarah Parker over at the Fit Cookie. She takes dip-it-snacks to a whole new level and keeps the ingredients natural and healthy.

Getting the kiddos involved in the kitchen this summer will make snack time more fun and it will get them excited about eating more nutritious snacks. What fun and creative snacks do you make with your kids during the summer? Or tell us your experience in changing processed snacks to fun, fresh ones.

the Fit Cookie is a blog written and maintained by Sarah ParkerSarah is one of Around the Plate’s Recipe Gurus and is a member of thePlate Community. As a recipe guru, Sarah shares creative dishes and healthy recipes that anyone on a budget can enjoy. Find other nutrition experts, recipe gurus, and healthy eating champions on our community blog network.