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


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