How to Sneak Veggies Into Your Kids’ Meals

We all know how important vegetables are for us and our kids. All their vitamins, nutrients, and other health benefits are a vital part of a healthy and balanced diet. That said, some kids, despite what we teach them, refuse to eat their veggies. But we can’t give up. If there’s no way your kid will even consider a Brussel’s sprout or celery stalk, there’s only one way to go… Sneak those veggies into food your kids will love! It takes a little planning, but there are lots of recipes where the goodness of veggies will go unnoticed to kids, but you’ll feel satisfied knowing you’ve managed to get ‘em into their little bellies. Read on for a few ideas to sneak vegetables into some tasty recipes.


Kids love muffins. They are a great choice for a quick breakfast or a sweet snack. Little will the kiddos know that you’ve added vegetables to their sweet pastries! It’s simple. If your child loves banana nut muffins, you can add finely grated carrots and zucchini right into the batter and follow the normal recipe as is. When the veggies bake into the mix, their taste and even their colors go undetected amongst the nutty and spiced goodness of the muffin! This works well in any chocolate cake based muffins too. You can even grate cooked (not raw) beets into the batter! The veggies actually add extra moistness along with their vitamins and minerals. What a fun way to sneak veggies into something sweet! You can pack a muffin or two for your child to bring to school.

Pasta Sauce

Yes, most pasta sauces are tomato based, but once some kids see any lump or bump within the sauce that even resembles a vegetable, they’d rather slather melted butter on their noodles instead. The trick to getting them to eat a veggie-based tomato sauce is to blend the veggies right into the sauce. It’s really simple to do and your kids will find that the sauce tastes the same as before (or even better). Simply dice cooked zucchini, squash, mushrooms, carrots or any one or combo of these, and place in a blender, blending until completely smooth. Add the mixture to your usual pasta sauce, warm, and serve. The added boost of veggies will pump up the nutritional value of the sauce and your kids will get the added vitamins they need.

Fruit Smoothies

You can slip veggies into sweet fruit smoothies without a trace of the taste of the veggies. Make your child a low-fat yogurt, strawberry and banana smoothie with a few teaspoons of chocolate sauce if you’d like. Add chopped spinach or another leafy green into the blender and whip it all together until frothy and smooth. The added vitamins and iron will give that already healthy smoothie even more body benefits. You can also try adding 100% vegetable juice to a smoothie, such as carrot juice which has a sweet flavor to any smoothie. It tastes especially good with apple-based drinks. Enjoy!

How do you get your kids to eat or drink their vegetables? For more info like this, please visit All My Children.

By: Melissa A. Kay

5 Things to Do With Apples

They say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, so why not make eating apples fun? Apples are nutritious and delicious in their natural state, but there a bunch of easy ways to take your apple eating up a notch. These ideas are great to create with the kids and soon they’ll be asking for apple treats all the time. Hey, it’s true… the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

PB & A

Kids love the tried and true lunchtime staple of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but when you swap out the jelly for thinly sliced apples, the sandwich becomes more sophisticated and packs a ton of tasty texture. If your child has a peanut allergy, use another type of nut butter or even cream or ricotta cheese. To create the sandwich, start with 2 slices of bread of your choice. I like to use wholesome whole wheat or raisin bread for extra yumminess. Spread a thin layer of your nut butter or cheese on one slice and layer thin slices of apples right on top. For extra zest, sprinkle a light coating of cinnamon on top of the apples and top with the other slice of bread. It’s so easy to make and tastes amazing. Toasted bread makes the sandwich warm and crusty if you have time for toasting. This treat makes for a healthy breakfast too.

Apple Fruit Salad

We’ve all had a fruit salad of some sort, though many don’t make apples the star of the dish. With the crunch of apples and the varieties available from the sticky sweet to the tangy tart, an apple-based fruit salad is a healthful and tasty snack option for kids. When shopping for apples, teach your kids about the varieties available, from their colors to their tastes to their textures. Together, you can select 3 or 4 of your favorites to use in the salad. Dice the apples into ¾ inch sized cubes and toss them in a bowl with a few squeezes of lemon juice to prevent the apples from browning. Add ½ cup of raisins which go well with apples. You can use grapes too. Add a few other fruits if you have some available at home, or make it an all-apple salad. Toss the fruit mixture with ¼ cup of apple juice and a dash of brown sugar and serve it up. The kids won’t be asking for cookies when they can satisfy their sweet tooth with this awesome apple salad.

Apple Oats

A warm bowl of oatmeal is a nutritious and satisfying breakfast choice. By adding some fruit such as apples, you’ll boost the flavor factor and health benefits even more. Remind your kids that the filling fiber in apples along with the wholesome oats will keep their bellies full until lunchtime. Plus, the apples will add a juicy burst in every bite. Simply prepare the oats as you normally would, but before heating, add ¼ cup of diced apples. A dash of cinnamon will pair well with the oats, as would nutmeg or allspice. The kids will look forward to a new twist on their oatmeal. You can add apples to cold cereal too. They taste great with honey-flavored cereals or granola.

Microwave Apple Crumble

There’s no need to spend hours baking in order to create a delicious dessert. You can make individual servings of a take on the apple crumble right in your microwave! This is an easy treat to make with the kids and will teach them how to be creative with ingredients you already have in the pantry. Simply take a microwave-safe mug and layer ¼ inch slices of apples with a dash of brown sugar, cinnamon, granola, honey or maple syrup and some walnuts. Repeat the layering until you fill the mug about ¾ of the way to the top. Heat until warmed throughout and serve. For an added treat, plop a scoop of low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt, ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on top right before serving. Yum!

Apple Dippers

You can get all the yummy goodness of a candy or caramel apple without all the work or mess. Make dipped apple slices that are just as tasty and such fun to make with the kids. Cut your favorite type of apples into ¾ inch slices and squeeze lemon juice over them to prevent browning. Don’t worry, you won’t taste the lemon. Set out separate bowls of melted chocolate, caramel sauce and yogurt along with separate bowls of chopped nuts, sprinkles, shredded coconut, mini chocolate chips and granola. Let the kids make their own concoctions by first coating ½ of the apple slice into the dip of choice, then rolling into the topping. Mix and match flavors and find out which ones the kids enjoy the most. Let your kids help prepare all the ingredients and write down their favorite combinations. This is a great after-school snack idea for playdates.

Do you have a unique apple recipe? We’d love to taste it! For more articles like this, please visit All My Children.

By: Melissa A. Kay


Day Trips in Your Own Hometown

A little time away with the family is important for your relationships and to show the kids what the world has to offer. Fancy vacations and long getaways are not necessary to have a fun time with your loved ones. You can take a simple day trip in your own community, making the most of what your town or nearby bigger city has going on. Here are four ideas for spending time with family on a day trip excursion. They are all great ways to give your kids an appreciation of culture, learning and they’ll see there’s more to fun than video games and television!


Bookstore Reading

Many local bookstores have reading groups for kids where the author comes to the store to make an appearance and reads their book aloud to young fans. What a nice way to incorporate the joy of reading into an educational and memorable day! Oftentimes, the author will sign autographs and take photos with the kids. Check out the events calendar at your local bookstores and libraries for upcoming appearances. Your kids will be even more eager to read when they get to meet the author and other book-loving families at the bookstore! Finish the day at the bookstore coffee shop for some hot cocoa and snacks.



There are many museums geared towards children or with special kid-friendly exhibits. A day at the museum is like a little getaway into a world of new findings and interesting things to learn about. Kids love “touch” museums where you are allowed to feel the exhibits and get hands-on with the pieces and sculptures. Art museums often have kids’ sections where the art is actually made by kids. See if there are any classes your kids can attend to create a masterpiece themselves! Natural history museums are always a hit with dinosaur bones, wild animal exhibits and pre-historic men and women. The kids will be having such a blast, they won’t even realize how much knowledge they’re absorbing!


Cooking Class

Kids love to participate in cooking and baking, and with a kids’ cooking class, they can do just that. Lots of community centers, religious institutions and cooking schools hold classes just for kids based on age and kitchen experience. Kids can learn to bake pies, create pasta specialties, broil a roasted chicken and decorate chocolate candies. Who knows what your mini-chef will learn to cook? Cooking and baking teach mathematics (for recipe amounts), patience, teamwork and nutrition. The bonus? A delicious treat to taste test at the end of the day. What a great mini-vacation as a day in the life of a chef!


Botanical Garden

Explore the beauty of nature with a day trip to a botanical garden. The kids will love seeing all the varieties of plants and flowers and will learn all about how they grow and where they thrive. It’s amazing to see little faces light up when they smell all the glorious scents and see flowers and plants they have never seen before from every country. A trip to a botanical garden is not only fun, but it gives kids an appreciation of the world around us and the care it takes to handle delicate plants and flowers. You may even have a future florist on your hands!

Have you taken a fun day trip with the kids? Where’d you go? We would love to hear more kid-friendly ideas. Read more info like this at All My Children Daycare.


By: Melissa A. Kay

Breakfast and Snack Smoothies the Whole Family Will Love

Smoothies are a great way to start the day or to enjoy as a mid-day or evening snack. They are so easy to prepare and can help teach kids about the importance of adding fruit and other healthy ingredients into our diets and how to carefully chop and dice foods if they are old enough to do so. Working with kids in the kitchen is also a creative way to teach them about teamwork and patience. Plus, you’ll wind up with a tasty drink that makes the time together all the better. Check out these 4 smoothie ideas you won’t be able to resist!

Berry Protein Power Smoothie

We could all use more fruit in our diets with their array of important vitamins, fiber and nutrients, and protein keeps our bellies full and muscles powered up. As you make this smoothie, you can teach your kids which vitamins are in the fruits and why it’s important to eat an array of colors of the rainbow. A berry smoothie is a favorite and is very simple to whip up. Make 2 servings by combining 1 cup of blueberries, 1 cup of raspberries (both can be either fresh or frozen), 1 medium banana cut into small slices, ½ cup of milk, skim milk, soy milk, or almond milk, 1 cup of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, and 4-5 ice cubes in a blender. Blend until the consistency is thick, but smooth. Pour into tall glasses and you’re ready to sip away!

Nut Butter Chocolate Smoothie

Note: If you or your child is allergic to peanuts, do not use peanut butter for this recipe. You can use sunflower butter, almond butter, soy butter, or another nut butter which your family enjoys. Teach your kids that nut butters can be a good source of protein for their growing bodies. For this yummy recipe which will also make 2 servings, combine 4 tablespoons of nut butter, 1 cup of any type of milk, 3 tablespoons of sweetened cocoa powder, 1 sliced up medium banana, 4-5 ice cubes, and 1/8 cup of chocolate syrup in a blender and blend until thick and smooth. Pour it up and enjoy!

Cinnamon Apple Pie Smoothie

There’s nothing like that homey feeling of apples and cinnamon, and now you can get that sensation in a cool smoothie. Make 2 servings of this mouth-watering and healthy drink with the kids. Take 2 apples and peel and dice them. Let the kids peel the apples if they are old enough. In a blender, combine the diced apples, 1 cup of soy milk (or another type of milk if you do not use soy), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, ½ cup applesauce, 4-5 ice cubes, and 4 crushed honey graham crackers. Blend until smooth and frothy. You’ll wonder why you haven’t been drinking your apple pie all along!

Creamsicle Smoothie

We all love that childhood favorite creamsicle ice pop, but you can make your own healthier version in the form of a smoothie. Be sure to teach the kids about the importance of the vitamin C in the oranges you’ll use in this recipe. To make 2 servings, combine 1 large peeled orange, all seeds removed and sectioned, ½ cup orange juice, one sliced banana, 1 cup whole milk (or another type of milk if you prefer not to use whole), 2 tablespoons honey, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and 4-5 ice cubes in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy and enjoy this citrus pleaser!

Have you created a delicious smoothie with the kids? What is your favorite kind? For more info like this, visit All My Children Daycare.

By: Melissa A. Kay

Make Your Own Pizza Night Recipes

Who doesn’t love pizza? It’s fun to order a pie or go out for a slice, but what about making your own? The kids will love helping out in the kitchen and concocting their own tasty recipes. You don’t even have to be a master at making dough. You can use sliced English Muffins, pita rounds, puff pastry or even thick toasted bread. Pizza night will never be the same again!

Four Cheese Gooey Delight

Mmmmm… cheese! Cheese lovers, rejoice. This four cheese recipe can be altered to suit your taste and favorite cheese combos. You can even swap in low-fat cheeses for a less fattening option, but remember, a little cheese goes a long way, especially for little mouths. You can use tomato sauce if you like, but on the four cheese blend, I like to leave off the sauce so the cheesy flavors shine. Your best bet for melting is to use shredded or finely sliced cheese. Go for mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Swiss, and ricotta for an all-white pizza. Or make it a “Tex-Mex” with cheddar, peppered cheese, nacho cheese sauce, and American. This one would taste great with a dollop of salsa on top. Any combo you like can be arranged on the bread type of your choosing and heated in the oven or toaster oven until the cheese melts and the pizza looks golden brown.

Very Veggie 

If you can’t get your kids to eat their vegetables, they sure will love them when they’re on top of a pizza they made themselves. Top the bread of your choice with a thin layer of tomato sauce. You can even blend pureed veggies into the sauce to make this veggie pizza even more nutritious. Dice up some green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, and other veggies you and the kids would like to try and arrange them on top of the sauce. Sprinkle on some shredded mozzarella and add some Parmesan if you’re looking for a bolder flavor. Again, heat in the oven or toaster oven until golden brown and you’ve got a healthy pizza the kids will devour. Veggies are back on the menu!

Sweet as Pie

While pizza is usually a savory dish, who said you can’t make a sweeter version? This sweet pizza is great for breakfast or an after-school snack. I like to use an English Muffin for the sweet pizzas, but you can use whatever type of bread you like best. Mini cinnamon raisin bagels would make for a delicious base too. Top each side with your favorite jelly or jam, or spread a thin layer of honey over each slice. Top that with a thin layer of ricotta or cream cheese. Thinly slice some strawberries, bananas, peaches, or other favorite fruits (I don’t recommend citrus fruits for this recipe) and lay them over the cheese. Pop into the oven or toaster oven until golden brown. Sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar or brown sugar right before serving. Sounds pretty sweet to me!

BBQ Chicken Pizzas

Is your mouth already watering? I like to use a thick, crusty bread for this recipe to hold the weight of the chicken, but feel free to use whatever you like the best. Top your bread with BBQ sauce, thinly sliced tomatoes and red peppers, sautéed onions, and pre-cooked, shredded chicken tossed in BBQ sauce. Top the chicken with a dash of parsley, black pepper and some crushed garlic. Pop the pizza in the oven or toaster oven until fully heated and golden brown. This pizza would go well with a side of cole slaw or corn-on-the-cob to make for a full meal.

With all these tasty pizza options you can make at home, you can lose the number to your local pizzeria today! Do you make your own pizza? What’s your favorite recipe?

Read more articles like this at All My Children Daycare.

By: Melissa A. Kay


Nut-Free Treats for the Whole Class

These days, kids have a variety of allergies or food sensitivities which can make bringing in a treat for the whole class challenging. Nut allergies are big on the list. Here are some nut-free snack options the kids will love and nobody will miss the nuts. In fact, they’ll go nuts over them!


Banana Crème Roll-ups

Kids love finger foods and these banana crème roll-ups are so simple to make and share. Simply take a small whole wheat or white flour tortilla, spread a thin layer of sour cream or cream cheese all over it, sprinkle with cinnamon and a dash of sugar and lay out thin slices of banana across the center. Roll up, slice in half, and you’ve got a fun and healthy treat that’s nut-free. You can try variations such as adding raisins, chocolate chips, or strawberry jam. The class will go bananas over this easy-to-eat delight.


Savory “Ants on a Log”

The original “ants on a log” uses peanut butter, which is a no-no for our nut-free snack list. So how about something savory? Take some celery stalks and fill the middles with hummus spread or cream cheese. You can even experiment with other bean dips too. Top that with some herbs and spices, diced up veggies, or crushed pretzels. The kids will devour these at snack time, and they’ll be getting a healthy veggie snack you’ll feel good about. Get ready to crunch!

Applesauce “Sundaes”

Applesauce, especially the kind in the individual cups, is easy to transport and is just the right size for little mouths. You can make the healthy treat even more fun with a variety of tasty toppings the kids can put on themselves. Place out bowls of toppings such as raisins, dry cereal, marshmallows, chocolate chips, and cinnamon sugar. The kids will feel like it’s an ice cream parlor, but with the new twist of applesauce instead of ice cream. Experiment with new toppings every time and the kids will love trying new combinations.


Homemade Frozen Fruit Pops

Kids love something cool, but lots of store-bought ice pops are full of sugar. Try making your own in an ice cube tray. Fill each section with some natural fruit juice of your choice, and inside each one, drop a few blueberries or chopped up strawberries. You can also try making a fruit puree in the blender and freezing that in the tray. Simply use a sturdy toothpick or small wooden stick for the kids to be able to hold the treat. Stick that in when the pop is about halfway frozen so it stays upright. Nearly every fruit works, and the kids will enjoy the variety of chilled popsicles.

What are your kids’ favorite nut-free treats? Let us know! For more fun articles like this, visit All My Children daycare.

By: Melissa A. Kay


Healthy Recipe Swaps Your Kids Will Never Know You Made

baby and watermelonParents know it can be difficult to get kids to eat healthfully. With all the TV commercials advertising fast food, candy, sugary cereals, and other not-so-good-for-us treats, it’s no wonder Brussels sprouts aren’t what kids are asking for. There’s hope though, and you can sneak some healthy ingredients into foods your kids will actually eat and love! Try these 4 simple swaps to include nutritious ingredients into everyday recipes. Your kids will never know the difference, and you’ll feel good about feeding them something healthy.


Use Unsweetened Applesauce Instead of Oil   

Who needs all that excess fat and grease? Use the same amount of unsweetened applesauce to replace the oil in your favorite muffins, cakes, and other baked goods. Not only does applesauce add a nice, sweet flavor, but the serving of fruit you’ll be providing your kids is much healthier than oil. The kids will never know you’ve made the swap, and you’ll know they’ve gotten their “apple a day”! Try applesauce in place of sugar in recipes too, just reduce the amount of liquid in the batter.


Greek Yogurt as “Mayo”

We use mayonnaise all the time… in tuna salad, cole slaw, as a condiment on cold cut sandwiches, in macaroni salad, and so many more dishes. All that fat is unnecessary for our kids. Make your meals healthier my using thick, rich Greek yogurt wherever you’d use mayo. Not only is it so smooth and fresh, but it packs a wallop of protein and calcium which your kids need to grow strong. You can even add some herbs and spices to liven up the yogurt for an extra zing. The kids will never realize you’ve replaced their mayo and you’ll know their lunches are healthier than ever.


Seltzer with Fruit vs. Soda

There’s simply nothing positive about giving our kids sugary soda. However, they can still enjoy that fizzy sensation with a healthier twist. Try adding sliced fruit and a small amount of fruit juice to plain seltzer water, and the kids will be satisfied. You can even add a few drops of food coloring to create a similar appearance to the drinks they are used to. If they claim their new beverage isn’t as sweet as the soda they’ve grown accustomed to, add a few sprinkles of a natural sugar-free sweetener like Stevia. You can even use a bit of regular sugar and your new drink will still have way less sugar than the sodas they’ve been sipping in the past.


Cauliflower for Potatoes

Lots of kids won’t even try cauliflower. Who can blame them? It looks funny and has an unusual consistency. However, when you steam and mash cauliflower and add a little salt, pepper and a tiny amount of butter or low-fat sour cream, the kids will swear they are eating mashed potatoes. The end result looks just like a heap of mashed potatoes, but the veggies in your creation will have the kids none the wiser. Try a half and half recipe of potatoes and cauliflower at first and then go for the full-on change. Everyone will be asking for seconds.

Have you tried any food swaps? Tell us! For more info like this, check out the All My Children website.

By: Melissa A. Kay