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5 Easy Recipes to Make with your Toddler this Summer

easy summer recipes to cook with your toddler

 

Cooking with your Toddler: 5 Easy Summer Recipe Ideas


One of the best ways to help young children learn about healthy foods and eating — and to get them excited about trying new foods — is to recruit them to help out in the kitchen. And believe me, little kids LOVE to help in the kitchen. (Wherever messes are possible, right? A potential mess is like a kid magnet…)


That said, most toddlers don’t have the attention span for a recipe that calls for 45 minutes of prep work, nor do many of us parents have the patience/time to walk them through one. IMO, the best recipes to make with your toddlers are ones that have few ingredients, few steps, and really showcase how combining foods in certain ways and cooking/cooling/blending them is truly transformative. It’s like magic: you start with one set of things, and wind up with something completely different altogether. 


Summer is a great time to get your little one in the kitchen! (If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at ourtop ten tips for cooking with your toddler.)Here are five of our favorite recipes to make with your toddler this season — they’re all simple, quick, easy-to-follow, and delicious. Let us know what you love to make with your kiddo! 

toddler green smoothie
  • Healthy Green Smoothie

  • A good smoothie makes for a perfect addition to any breakfast, lunch, or snack — especially during the summer, it’s so refreshing! We love this healthy green smoothie, which offers a mix of fruits and veggies and covers all the bases in terms of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Plus, the green color is super fun for little kids —Green Eggs and Ham inevitably comes up in my house whenever we make this one… and this recipe literally helped my kids learn that greens can be delicious. 


    What you’ll need: 

    • Milk or dairy-free milk
    • Frozen banana
    • Frozen mango (or other fruit)
    • Baby spinach 

    How to make a healthy green smoothie: 


    Simply combine milk (or dairy-free milk), frozen banana slices, frozen mango (or swap in frozen strawberries or pear slices), and a handful of baby spinach in a blender, and voila! If you like, you can add in some nut butter or nut butter powder for an extra protein boost, or some avocado for an extra dose of healthy fat. 


    *Tip: Make sure to let your kiddo press the buttons on the blender… because kids love pushing buttons. (Look at me, I made a pun.) 

    toddler hummus
  • Yummy Toddler Hummus

  • I love serving hummus as a dip (it pairs so well with whole grain crackers, cheese, fruit slices, and/or veggies) — but my kids actually like this so much they often eat it plain, hah! You can also use it as a spread on sandwiches, toast, or rice cakes. 


    What you’ll need: 

    • Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
    • Lemon
    • Tahini
    • Extra-virgin olive oil
    • Salt/pepper or other spices (optional)

    How to make creamy hummus with your toddler:


    Combine one jar of chickpeas with ~2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, a generous squeeze of lemon, and ~¼ cup tahini in a blender or food processor. I like to mix in a pinch of salt and pepper to taste, but other fantastic, more exotic spices to consider are cumin, garlic, or paprika. 


    Next, simply blend until smooth and serve it up!


    *Note: For a colorful twist on this recipe, you can try blending in beets (purple hummus, whaaat?!) or carrots (orange is fun, too!). **Also: if you don’t want to use tahini, you can leave it out altogether, or you can swap it out for ~½ cup plain greek yogurt — this comes out deliciously creamy. 

  • Cherry Yogurt Pops

  • Let me tell you that there is no better way to drum up some excitement about cooking than with the promise of popsicles. This cherry popsicle recipe is classic yet also has some understated sophistication to it (with the addition of lemon and vanilla extract) that really sets it apart from the standard cheap store-bought popsicles. *Note that it does require ~2-4 hours of freezing time, depending on your freezer and the molds you choose — so make sure to plan ahead and prepare your kiddo for the anticipatory wait! (Recipe adapted fromyummytodderfood.com.) 


    What you’ll need: 

    • Plain greek yogurt ordairy-free greek yogurt
    • Frozen cherries (or strawberries, or a berry blend) 
    • Vanilla extract 
    • Lemon
    • Honey or syrup (optional) 

    How to make cherry fruit pops with your toddler: 


    Combine 2 cups cherries (or any berry combination you like), a healthy drizzle of natural sweetener such as syrup or honey (optional), a dash of vanilla extract, a squeeze of lemon, and ~1.5 cups plain greek yogurt (or plain dairy-free yogurt) in a blender and blend until smooth. 


    Next, pour the mixture into popsicle molds, mini cups, or an ice cube tray (if you opt for the latter two, don’t forget to add popsicle sticks), and set in the freezer for ~2-4 hours or until frozen. Enjoy!

    toddler zucchini fritters

  • Zucchini Fritters

  • Zucchini is everywhere in the summer, and these little bites are a great way to incorporate zucchini into even the most picky little eater’s diet. These are great hot/fresh but I also love making extra to pack for outings, camp lunches, or beach snacks. This one is a *little more hands-on, friends, but toddlers LOVE all the steps that go into making these. Have fun with it! (Recipe adapted fromhealthylittlefoodies.com.)


    What you’ll need: 

    • Zucchini
    • Shredded cheese
    • Oat flour
    • Eggs
    • Italian herbs (optional) 
    • Salt/pepper (optional)

    How to make zucchini fritters with your toddler: 


    Grate two zucchinis and pat them nice and dry with some paper towels. Combine the dry, grated zucchini with roughly ½ cup shredded cheese,  ¼ cup oat flour, 2 eggs, and a pinch of Italian seasoning/spices (this last is optional — you could leave it out altogether if you prefer). 


    Mix, mix, mix! 


    Here comes the fun part: shape the mixture into little rounds (think latkes in terms of the sizing) and place them on a lined/greased baking sheet. (I like to top these with a *light sprinkle of salt and pepper here, but that’s up to you.)


    Lastly, bake these in the oven at 350 for ~15 minutes. You want the edges to be slightly crisped and browned. 

    toddler quesadilla recipe idea

  • Finger Food Quesadillas

  • Quesadillas are the perfect summer dish — and this is hands-down the easiest way to make them! It pairs *perfectly with a fresh salsa and/or sliced avocado. 🥑😎


    What you’ll need: 


    How to make easy finger food quesadillas with your toddler: 


    Prep Amara black bean and sweet corn puree by mixing the powder from one pouch with ~¼ cup warm water. Arrange your tortillas (one pouch should work well with about 4 small tortillas) on a lined or greased baking sheet, and smear Amara black beans and sweet corn puree over each one. Sprinkle cheese over half of each tortilla, then fold them all in half. Pop your tray in the oven at 350 degrees for ~10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. (You can also heat these on the stovetop in a pan, if that’s easier.) 


    Tips: For older toddlers and young children, you can add in other ingredients to spice things up, like avocado, lettuce, tomato, or salsa. And make sure you let your quesadillas cool down before serving!



    Let us know how these work for you, and we’d love to hear your favorite recipes to make with your kiddo — let us know! 

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