Featured Blog Post #24

Build Your Own Recipes for Kids (with Clean Up Tips Too!)

by Janice from 5 Minutes for Mom

When it comes to their food, kids like to feel in control. Giving children, especially picky eaters, choices about their meals allows them to not only feel good about what they are eating, but also lets them have fun and get creative.

With these simple “build your own recipes” for kids, you can make mealtime fun and help your kids make healthy food choices. And since we know cooking with kids can get extra messy, we have some quick cleanup tips for you, too.

The Kids are in Charge with these “Build Your Own Recipes”

The goal of these recipe ideas is to let your kids choose the ingredients to design their own meal. There are myriad variations for you to offer up for your children, and you certainly don’t have to (or want to) offer them all the first time. Choose ingredients that would work well together and offer enough options to let your kids have some choices, but not so many that they are overwhelmed.

Build Your Own Wrap
From peanut butter and jam to cream cheese and avocados, wraps regularly replace sandwiches in our home. Wraps are versatile, fast and easy to make — and whether you are creating a full meal salad wrap for yourself or a quick apple-and-cheese wrap for your kids, wraps can save the day!

The variations are endless, but here are a few of our favorite starter wrap ideas:

Cream cheese (plain, herb and garlic, strawberry, etc.)
Peanut butter (or other nut butters)
Salad dressing or dip
Butter or margarine


Seeds, nuts or dried fruits

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Crushed walnuts
  • Dried cranberries
  • Raisins

Fresh fruit or vegetables

  • Cucumbers
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pears

Cheese, meat or eggs

  • Grated cheddar or mozzarella
  • Crumbled feta
  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Hard-boiled eggs

Build Your Own Smoothie
It isn’t hard to convince kids to have a smoothie or a milkshake. Letting your kids have their own smoothie bar is even more enticing! Offer up different fresh and frozen fruits, juices or milk, yogurts or even a scoop of ice cream to let them create their own signature smoothie.

Fruit juice
Coconut or almond milk
Rice or soy milk


Build Your Own Fruit Crisp
My kids’ favorite dessert is apple crisp — made with their handpicked berries! In the summer, we spend hours and hours picking blackberries and freezing them for our fall and winter apple crisps. But we don’t limit our crisp creations just to apples and blackberries. No, my kids like to add all kinds of berries, and each of them has their personal favorite. My son likes blueberries and blackberries in his, and my daughter wants only raspberries added to her apple crisp.

Crisps are super easy and quick to make. And I only add oats, no wheat flour, to my topping, so it is a quick four-ingredient toss into a bowl and stir! I like to be very generous with the topping since my kids love it. It is a great way to give them oats — and I try to keep the sugar content as low as possible. The cinnamon and the fruit add tons of flavor.

Let your kids choose what fruits they want in their crisp. Remember, you can use fresh or frozen fruits, so don’t limit yourself to what is in season. The frozen fruit medley blends can be a great addition to a fruit crisp, too.

Rhubarb (my favorite when I was a kid!)

(After all these years, I don’t measure when I make crisp – I toss in the ingredients as to what feels right. These measurements are just guidelines. Add or subtract according to your taste and preference.)
2 cups rolled or quick oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, margarine, coconut oil, etc.

Preheat oven at 350 F
Core and slice 3 large apples
Add apple slices to medium/large mixing bowl
Add 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp cinnamon and toss
Spread apple mixture evenly over shallow baking dish
Add additional desired fruit and spread evenly over apples
Spoon topping mixture over fruit and spread evenly
Bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes, or until bubbling and golden

Quick Cleanup Tips
After kids help in the kitchen, you will probably want some help cleaning up. While we can’t come over and wash your dishes, here are a few helpful tips to make the cleaning easier and faster.

TIP: Get kids involved by wiping messes off the counter and table into an empty dirty bowl. (Don’t worry if they miss and spill on the floor. We have that covered in Tip 5.)
TIP: Put unused fresh fruit into bags or small containers to use for future smoothies
TIP: Wash blender by adding warm water and a couple drops of dish soap, then blending until clean. Simply rinse with warm water (adult-only tip).
TIP: Fill up the sink with warm soapy water and let kids “wash” the mixing bowls, spatulas and spoons. While they are entertained with the bubbles, you can fly around the kitchen and finish tidying up.
TIP: Once the counters and tables are cleared and food is all stored away, grab your vacuum and quickly vacuum the kitchen floor and any chairs or stools where the kids dropped food.

For more cleaning tips and ideas, check out our post Spring Cleaning Tips .

To find even more great cleaning tips, see our posts over at the BISSELL Celebrate Messes website.

Disclaimer: This post is part of a sponsored campaign, but as always, you can trust our opinions are our own.
Written by Susan of 5 Minutes for Mom
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