When preparing food with young grandchildren, it’s easy to get stuck making the same frozen chicken nuggets or bagel bites over and over to please picky eaters.
But there are a few culinary options that the little ones will love to make with you — and that pack essential nutrients for older folks, too.
1. Almond butter & jam
The PB&J sandwich is a classic for a reason: It’s incredibly easy to prepare, and delicious to boot.
However, peanut allergies are also one of the most common and deadly ailments in young and old folks alike, and peanut butter isn’t the healthiest of your nut butter choices.
Try almond butter instead — it has three times more heart-healthy fat as peanut butter, and contains the same vitamins E, B12, and Zinc that make PB so appealing.
To further up the nutritional value, pick up some jam without too much added sugar, or try making your own fruit jam — a bonus activity with your grandkids.
2. Corn on the cob
Shucking corn is a great activity to explore with grandkids. You can show younger kin how it’s done, and make unique corn husk dolls as the corn cooks.
Corn is chock full of important fiber, vitamin C, and magnesium. Sure, it’s starchy, but most nutritionists recommend a fair amount of starchy carbs per day. Corn is one of the healthiest options out there.
3. Ants on a log
You probably know this one: Take celery stalks, slather them with peanut butter (or almond or cashew, as allergies and taste preferences dictate), and pepper the top with raisins.
This is one instance when playing with your food is encouraged!
Celery is a little-known source of a lot of important antioxidants and reduces inflammation in the digestive tract and blood vessels. It also has an alkalizing effect, key for anyone who has trouble with highly acidic foods.
4. Home-made pickles
Pickling vegetables is an exciting and interactive lesson in both science and patience. Cucumbers are of course a classic choice, but try challenging your grandkids’ taste buds and diversifying your nutrients by pickling cauliflower, carrots, and radishes as well.
Pickled foods are chock full of probiotics, which are a godsend for your digestive system. Pickle juice also helps keep blood sugar down, soothe muscle cramps, and provide antioxidant C and E
5. Grilled cheese
Another sandwich classic. The calcium in cheese is excellent for the bone health of any age group.
This is a great way to sneak in a geography lesson: Does your grandchild know where Swiss cheese comes from? How about Gouda? What about Gruyere?
Add tomatoes or ham for added potassium, vitamin K, and protein, and dip into tomato soup for an instantly comforting meal.
Teaching children about nutrition is a sly way to ensure you’re getting your daily requirements as well. Healthy, simple meals can help make healthy eating a fun, family bonding time for both of you.