Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Montessori Inspired: recipes toddlers can help with in the kitchen

Another month has flown by and it's already time for Brittany's Munchkin Meals link up! This month, I'm exploring something a little different by sharing the ways I've been trying to get Mr. Toddler (24 months) involved in the kitchen. 

I really struggle to get him involved in cooking dinner as I tend to cook during naptime. I love how relaxing it is to cook, snap some photos, and have some quiet 'me' time. However, I also know that Mr. Toddler loves to 'help' me in most household chores and particularly enjoys the opportunities I do present for him to help in the kitchen. 

Instead of stressing about getting a toddler to help with dinner, I have been trying to give him more tasks to do when it comes to simple meal prep, especially where his own food is concerned! Most of his helping comes in the form of: scooping, washing, cleaning, assembling, pouring and he loves it!

I do present a lot of activities that focus on these skills during out Tot School activities, but this post focuses specifically on real life application in a real life setting. The change of scenery has also helped to keep him engaged! This even lets me have some more time to drink a cup of coffee as Mr. Toddler will sit quietly and work on diligently de-stemming strawberries, peeling eggs, or assembling sandwiches. At the same time, I really believe that the extra involvement in preparing his meals, has increased his desire to try new foods or foods he previously disliked like basil or leafy greens!

Here's what Mr. Toddler has been helping me prepare lately: 


Healthy toddler meals


Cheese, ham and basil-spinach roll ups 


I let Mr. Toddler make his own lunch by assembling some wraps. I gave him cucumbers, cheese, and spinach/basil. I ended up adding some sprouts to the tortilla. 

Healthy toddler meals by Welcome to Mommyhood #healthytoddlermeals, #montessori, #practicallife


Crackers and assorted goodies


Same idea as above.

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Mr. Toddler has suddenly started loving cheese (from my uncle in law's farm ;) cucumbers, and crackers. I added some ham slices and let him make his own lunch! He had so much fun with this snack!  

Action shot: 

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De-stemming strawberries 


Fruit prep is a great way for toddlers to get involved in the kitchen. Usually, fruits don't make it into particular dishes in our home because we snack on it and treat it as a dessert! Mr. Toddler hasn't caught on that desserts other than fruit or yogurt exist. Perhaps I'm a little mean for not telling him otherwise...

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Mr. Toddler absolutely loves de-stemming strawberries! This is also a great way to help little ones practice their pincer grip and fine motor skills, while getting some tasty snacks! 

Muffins


Muffins are filled with wonderful toddler tasks! Yesterday, we worked on some pumpkin pie muffins, which turned out absolutely delicious! Mr. Toddler helped with all of the pouring, stirring, and dumping of ingredients into our mixing bowl! It worked out great and proved to be a lovely way for us to bond and spend some mother-son time together. 

Healthy muffins recipes: blueberry banana breakfast muffins by Welcome to Mommyhood

It proves yet again that I should let him do more as I suppose he enjoys cooking just like I do at this point and that is definitely a skill I want to encourage!

While our pumpkin pie muffins haven't made it into a recipe post yet, you can check out my simple blueberry muffins recipe in the mean time! It's very healthy and perfect not only for getting little hands involved in the kitchen, but also a great recipe for little tummies!

Nut butter apple slices


Mr. Toddler loves practicing his knife skills by spreading nut butter on apple slices. You can use peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, etc. For us, it depends on what is available in our home at the time. 

I also like to add some chia seeds on top for an extra healthy snack! 


Healthy toddler meals by Welcome to Mommyhood #healthytoddlermeals, #montessori, #practicallife

Oatmeal 


Some instragam-action: 


I presented all of the ingredients necessary to make some easy oatmeal: milk (the kind varies), oatmeal, a banana and a knife. Mr. Toddler peeled the banana which I started for him, put it in the bowl, and added all of the remaining ingredients. These weren't instant so I actually ended up finishing them off on the stove top, but instant oats are obviously easier. I don't buy the instant packages with flavouring though, and prefer to buy gluten free oats. 

Roasted asparagus


Mr. Toddler washed the asparagus for our simple dish. I added some garlic, lemon juice and coconut oil and into the oven they went! My little helper was very pleased that he got to do his part and ended up devouring almost the entire batch. 

Healthy toddler meals by Welcome to Mommyhood #healthytoddlermeals, #montessori, #practicallife

Roasted pumpkin or squash? 


Toddler tasks: deseeding! 

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Mr. Toddler loved scooping out the seeds from our pumpkin so we could make some homemade puree! Pumpkin pie pancakes need to be made!

What can you make with a de-seeded squash or pumpkin? Quinoa pumpkin pie pudding, roasted squash fries, or simply roast it! My son adores roasted sweet potato or squash fires! 

Smoothies 


These are a fantastic way to get little hands involved in the kitchen! Mr. Toddler adores smoothies and asks for one each time he sees the blender or spinach. 

Tots can easily help by washing fruits and vegetables, peeling bananas, and dumping the ingredients in the blender. 

Healthy toddler meals by Welcome to Mommyhood #healthytoddlermeals, #montessori, #practicallife

I have a basic smoothie recipe you can checkout for some inspiration!  I also have a lovely carrot-mango smoothie that my family loves! 


Spice mixes


I love making my own spice mixes and have shared five of my go to recipes in this recipe post! Toddlers can definitely help with this one by pouring, mixing, dumping, spooning, etc. This is a simple way to get little ones involved!

Tortilla Pizza


Healthy toddler meals by Welcome to Mommyhood #healthytoddlermeals, #montessori, #practicallife

This is a pretty easy and delicious pizza recipe! Tots can help by spooning the tomato paste onto the 'pizza' (tortilla) and putting the toppings on it. Adults should clearly be the ones to transfer the pizza to and from the oven.  



If you want to know more about what I feed Mr Toddler, visit my healthy toddler recipes page! 

Thank you so much for stopping by!
Yuliya