Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lunchtime with the Kids

LUNCH TIME PLANNING AND PREPARATION

Planning meals may not be an earth-shattering decision in your life, but the ability to make choices matters more than you might think to a child. Lunchtime planning can provide a great—and healthy—opportunity for kids to do just that. Begin by making a list of nutritious sandwiches and sides for them to choose from each day (or once a week if you like to organize meal planning and grocery shopping in advance). If your children are old enough, you can even enlist their help at the supermarket by asking them to read you the shopping list as well as assist in finding the items and putting them in the cart.

How do you get your kids more involved in lunch preparation and make it fun? Here are some tips to help:

•Read recipes through first so there are no surprises along the way.
•Teach your child basic preparation skills such as gathering all the bowls, pans and/or necessary utensils as well as measuring ingredients.
•Cut sandwiches into a variety of shapes with a cookie cutter (if suitable for the recipe).
•When packing lunch, have your youngster help wrap up sandwiches with colorful plastic wrap and seal with a favorite sticker.
•Add a crazy straw and colorful napkin and sneak in a surprise love note for your child.

Don’t forget to praise your youngster’s efforts and new-found kitchen skills consistently, to encourage more fun in the kitchen. This way, they’ll feel rewarded and get more enjoyment from cooking. And they just might be more likely to eat their nutritious lunch!

For a lunch treat, use the Pampered Chef Cut-N-Seal to make peanut butter and jelly or tuna sandwiches, or try the following “pizza substitute” for a special lunch or snack.

MOZZARELLA TARTS

1 can (8 oz) pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 loaf soft white or wheat bread
½ cup butter, melted
1 pressed garlic clove

1.Preheat over to 400 F.
2.Combine pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese in small bowl.
3.Place one teaspoon of pizza sauce mixture in center of a slice of bread. Fold bread in half. Cut and seal bread with 3-inch Cut-N-Seal.
4.Repeat with remaining slices of bread. Place on baking stone.
5.Combine melted butter and garlic. Brush tops of tarts with garlic butter.
6.Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.