When we were kids, my mom loved to bake with my sister and me. She would put my sister in charge of mixing the dry ingredients and I was in charge of the wet. We loved having a job in the kitchen and we looked forward to eating the delicious cookie recipes we made as our after-dinner treat.
It turns out my mom was onto something by keeping us busy in the kitchen: experts say that when kids help plan, cook, serve and clean up after meals, they’ll be more interested in eating with the family since they have a stake in the meal. Since it’s so important for kids to eat a healthy diet, choose to make healthy recipes kids will love. While sweets should be a limited part of any child’s diet, a little treat in moderation is OK once in a while. By making these suggested recipes for healthier versions of kids’ favorite desserts, you can teach kids about replacing less-healthy ingredients with healthier ones while you have fun cooking together.
Here are three easy recipes to bake with your kids:
Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Frosting: Even little ones can help with this recipe by putting the cupcake liners in the muffin tin. These cinnamon-spiked cupcakes stay healthy because shredded apple replaces some of the oil and keeps the cake moist.
Swirled Cheesecake Brownies: These beautiful brownies are made with whole-wheat flour and use reduced-fat cream cheese in the marbled topping. Help your kids cut them into bite-size pieces for fun finger-food eating and to help keep the calorie count in check.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: These oatmeal chocolate chip cookies have the familiar flavors of brown sugar and chocolate, but get a sophisticated twist from tahini (sesame paste). Tahini helps to lower the saturated fat by more than 66 percent while adding a nutty flavor to an old classic. As a result these cookies have less butter than regular chocolate chip cookies and they get a boost of fiber from oats and whole-wheat flours. Kids can help out by mixing the ingredients together. You can store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 days or freeze for longer storage.