Staying at home with your kids playing and jumping and already they start to feel hungry again? Here are some nutritious, quick and simple ideas to feed your toddlers and older kids to help you enjoy the responsibility of feeding them. Don’t be worried about feeling like you don’t have a choice other than to feed them with something boring or unhealthy like biscuits and chocolates- there's plenty of options!
We know it’s been a very difficult time for parents to go food shopping or to order ingredients online during this pandemic so we hope you find this list of recipes useful and inspiring. Before you read, take a pen and paper to note all the ingredients you might not have at home but you might like to buy to prepare the snacks.
We have used a variety of foods, from old classics to multi-cultural foods/snacks to help you.
Bread: What foods are good sources of carbohydrates?
Bread is very nutritious and is one of the main sources of carbohydrates in food in many cultures all over the world. If you choose to buy the wholegrain type of bread which is brown and high in fibre, it keeps you and children feel full for longer and is healthier for the digestive system. Many children might say they generally don’t like the taste of wholegrain bread and usually eat white bread but different types of wheat and baking methods will result in different tastes. Patiently try and test multiple brands to see which is your child’s choice. The tastiest ones are usually the freshly made ones from the bakery.
- Bread and any type of cheese with fresh, crunchy vegetables: Don’t forget children love crunchy ones such as iceberg lettuce, carrots, cucumbers and red bell peppers.
- Bread and plain natural yogurt: Plain yogurt with no sugar or specific flavour is much healthier than other types. Greek style yoghurt is thick, creamy and sticky, so most children will enjoy dipping bread in this yogurt and eat with their hands, perfect for feeding toddlers.
Bread and baked beans or lentils: If you cook the beans or lentils at home, well cooked and thick like in this guided recipe, it’s healthier and tasty for kids. Add a little salt and fresh lemon juice and pinch of garlic powder to make it even tastier. Let them dip the bread into it and enjoy this playful way of eating.
Did you know, one cup of boiled lentils provides 39.86g of carbohydrates along with 17.86g of protein and 15.6g of fibre. Have a look on this webpage if you want to know more about carbohydrates in food.
- Bread with peanut butter and jam: Believe it or not, this is so yummy for some kids and it keeps them full for 2 to 3 hours. It is a high calorie food for kids so it’s better not to have it more than once a day.
Bread, spreadable soft cheese and radish (instead of olives): In Mediterranean and middle-eastern countries, olives are the main item in sides. Some children hate the taste of olives whereas radish is crunchy and less bitter so you can try and test it to offer new things to your kid!
- Bread, spreadable soft cheese and nuts such as walnuts or almonds: Don’t forget that nuts must be in everyone’s daily nutrition for those who are not allergic to it. If your child is not allergic but doesn’t like nuts, crush them and blend them in soft cheese or yogurt. In Mediterranean and middle-eastern countries, it is one of the yummy elements for appetisers in different meals.
- Bread and spread soft cheese and seeds such as sunflower seeds: Don’t forget that different types of seeds should also be in everyone’s daily nutrition, if your child is not allergic to them. Crush them and blend in soft cheese or yogurt, to reduce the risk of being choked.
- Bread and hummus: A one of a kind snack that some children love and some children hate. If they do like it you are so lucky!
Oatmeal: Porridge recipes for kids
Oatmeal, another carbohydrate, is one of the main ingredients of 100s of recipes if not thousands!
For cooking the oatmeal, many suggest to soak it from the night before. It will help it cook faster and also gives it a nice smooth texture which most toddlers prefer. After soaking ½ cup of oatmeal, drain it and mix it with 1 and 1/4 cup of milk in a small pan. Put it over the medium heat and stir it gently every minute. Don’t leave it to boil unattended because the top layer and the bottom layer should be continuously mixed for a perfect smooth texture. Cook it for about 4-5 minutes until it is thick, but not so much that it sticks to your spoon. Add a little sugar or maple syrup if you like. When it has cooled down, it is ready to be mixed with your kids’ favourite choice of toppings. (if you didn’t soak the oats, no worries, just cook it with 1 and ½ cup milk for 7-8 minutes).
- Cooled down porridge with honey and raisins mix: I am not saying this will be a child’s favourite but it is healthy and the calories in oats are high; one cup of oatmeal contains about 150 calories. You can add cinnamon or chocolate powder to it. Make sure the porridge is not warm when you are adding honey- if its too hot then it can get rid of the goodness in the honey. If your child doesn’t like the stickiness of the raisins, cook them from the beginning while cooking the oats.
- Porridge with a vanilla or chocolate ice-cream topping: One of the most-loved choices of toppings for kids! The addition of honey is up to you because the sugar in ice-cream must be enough, although some kids don’t like unsweet porridge and might only finish the top layer if you don’t make the porridge sweet!
- Porridge with a sliced banana and diced apple or berries topping: Yummy toppings are not always chocolatey, try to give them fruit as much as possible.
- Porridge with almond powder and cinnamon: Yummy toppings are not always chocolatey, try to give them fruits as much as possible.
- Porridge with Nutella and banana toppings: Yummier toppings are always chocolatey for kids. If they say no to any type of porridge, try this which they are more likely to say yes to! But be careful because they might never try other choices so keep it as a final option.
Overnight soaked oatmeal recipe without cooking: If you are interested in raw meals you can also use this recipe https://www.myfussyeater.com/cocoa-banana-overnight-oats/
Milkshakes: perfect ideas for a birthday party
Milkshakes are very simple to make and can be beautifully decorated. It is high in calories, healthy for kids and also perhaps for you to gain energy, especially for mummies who have toddlers at home or are breastfeeding their baby. Don’t forget to drink some water after having a milkshake to feel refreshed.
Mix 1/3 cup (80 ml) of chilled milk, 3 scoops (150 ml) of vanilla ice-cream and about 20-30g of each suggested adding below (for example 20g of pistachios for option 1 or 30g sesame seeds for option 2, depending on your preference). Blend with an electric blender on the highest speed for 2 minutes.
- Vanilla ice-cream milk-shake with pistachio, coconut, sesame seeds and dates: Most children enjoy shakes of different flavours. Try to make them familiar with other tastes that they haven’t tried yet. Dates are rich in fibre, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and vitamin A. They are naturally sweet enough to be used as a sweetener for your milkshake but you can add a little (one or two teaspoons) honey or maple syrup if they prefer it sweeter. You can decorate it with sliced banana, some cinnamon or chocolate powder and add a colourful straw.
- Ice-cream milkshake with banana, sesame seeds and honey: Similar to other milkshakes, mix 1/3 cup (80 ml) milk and 3 scoops (150 ml) of vanilla ice-cream, half a banana, 20g sesame seeds and 2 teaspoons of honey. If you fancy, you can add a pinch of cinnamon or chocolate powder to it. Decorate the inside of your serving glass with chocolate sauce and then pour the shake into it.
- Ice-cream milk-shake with Nutella and banana: One tablespoon of Nutella and ½ banana is enough for 1/3 cup (80 ml) milk and 3 scoops (150 ml) of vanilla ice-cream.
- Ice-cream shake with a variety of fruits: Bananas, mangos or berries make a tasty combination. Try adding them to 1/3 cup (80 ml) apple or pear juice to your milk-shake. It is also nice if you serve it with double cream and diced fruits as a topping.
Rice: in recipes from different cultures
Rice pudding: It will always be nicer if you make fresh rice at home. Cook 120g white rice, soaked from the night before in 200ml boiling water on low heat. You can use short grain, long grain, broken rice or basmati. After that, add 800ml milk to the cooking rice. You can use whole milk or unsweetened almond milk, which kids love. Let it cook gently for another 45mins until thick and creamy. Stirring it regularly is necessary to get a nice texture. You can add 4 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup if you like.
Serve it with sliced bananas and fresh blueberries or jam. You can also add cinnamon powder or high-quality chocolate powder to make it tastier.
- Ginger-Infused Japanese Rice Pudding: This heavenly ginger-flavoured rice pudding is lovely and perfect to serve on cool days or afternoons when you want a special treat! It is simple and takes 1 hour and 30 mins to cook. We suggest to use a ginger tea bag instead of fresh peeled ginger, for kids.
- Cooked rice served with plain yogurt: Cook 120g of drained white rice (pre-soaked in water for 2 hours before cooking) in 200ml boiling water and a pinch of salt. Stir the rice a couple times while cooking until all of the boiling water disappears. Serve it with preferably Greek style plain unsweetened yogurt- kids love Greek yoghurt and will probably want more.
Cooked rice flavoured with sour cherry jam: Sour cherry jam is a type of jam that is more available in Russia, Poland, Ukraine and also in middle-eastern countries such as Turkey and Iran. You may be able to find it in your local Turkish or Iranian supermarket.
Cook 120g drained white rice (pre-soaked in water for 2 hours before cooking) in 200ml boiling water with a pinch of salt and one tbsp. vegetable oil. Stir the rice gently a couple times (from time to time) until the boiling water disappears. Add 2-3 tablespoons of sour cherry jam while there's still some water in the pot and mix gently. Leave it for 10 to 15 mins on low heat and then serve it.
Yogurt: recipe for snacks low in calories
Children are usually happy to have yogurt for snack time and they enjoy several flavours. Instead of lots of sugar and fruity flavourings, use our creative and healthy yogurt recipe ideas that families can easily make, or even involve kids in the process. For these recipes you can use your usual yogurt brand but better not to spoil the taste- we strongly suggest Greek style plain yogurt, which is creamy and so yummy for kids.
Yogurt with chopped, cooked spinach: Nutritious, simple and quick to cook. The mixture of soft spinach and yoghurt is amazing! Many kids love this creamy tasty spinach as a side or starter, or you can serve it with breadsticks as a snack.
You will need 225g cooked spinach (roughly chopped after cooking). Put the baby spinach into a pan, add salt and cook over moderately high heat until the water and fragrance disappears. Then add 600ml Greek-style yoghurt. If you are fan of garlic, add pinch of garlic powder.
Yogurt with cucumber, raisins and nuts: Want a nutritious, simple recipe with no cooking needed? Simply get inspired by this Iranian traditional starter. Dice 300g cucumber and add 600ml Greek-style or natural plain yogurt with salt, dried mint and blended nuts such as walnuts. This combination of cool cucumber and creamy yogurt is lovely especially during the summer.
- Caramelized banana breakfast parfait: Fancy a more stylish recipe for the start of your day? Try this delicious breakfast made with honey, caramelized bananas, Greek style yogurt, granola and cinnamon! On the website, she suggests: “Bananas are a delicious fruit anyway but by frying them in coconut oil and honey they become incredibly soft and sweet and literally melt in your mouth. This contrasts so well with the sharpness of the Greek yogurt and the crunch of the granola.”
- Homemade yogurt melts: A perfect treat suggested for babies starting on solids, toddlers, kids and adults which brings enjoyment to the moments with your family! It is not hard to make, but if you have tried other types of it, now try this.
- Mini yogurt fruit pizzas: For this creative yogurt idea, you only need little round cookies, yogurt and some fresh juicy fruits such as berries, cherries or grapes. Here, plain Greek yogurt has been used as well as granola cookies and berries. The sweetness of the cookies was enough and it doesn’t really need any added sweetener to the yogurt. These mini yogurt fruit pizzas are also a fantastic finger-food idea for a party.
Homemade ice-cream ideas:
Making ice-cream in a plastic bag means you don't need to buy an ice-cream maker and wait hours to make it at home! It is fantastic! All you need is two plastic baggies, ice, salt and 15 minutes of time. It does not even take up space in your fridge. Have a look here or watch this:
Add your preferred topping and enjoy homemade ice-cream with fresh ingredients! You can try this in different flavours by adding any of these to your creamy milk and sugar:
- Mango puree
- Strawberries mixed with bananas or any other fresh fruits