Monica Irwin, the creator of Veggie Buds Club, recently Skyped with Twin Cities Live to discuss 4 simple snacktivities (1-2 ingredients!) that are guaranteed to keep your kids entertained and well-nourished. A snacktivity is simply a snack and activity combination, they are all guaranteed to make veggies fun for your kids!
Carrot Tower: Slice 1-2 carrots into “coin” shapes. Place them on a plate with some of your child’s favorite dip (i.e. nut/seed butter, ranch, or hummus). Encourage your child to stack the carrot “coins” as high as they can to make a Carrot Tower while they snack on carrots and dip at the same time. They can also use the dip as “glue” to help hold the tower together!
Bean Tic Tac Toe: Create a “Tic Tac Toe” board with 4 green beans. Use any type of veggie, snack food, or dry beans for the “X’s” and “O’s” and play Bean Tic Tac Toe with your child! Place some extra green beans on the side and encourage your child to snack on these while you play.
Peas & Cheese Necklace: Twist 2 pipe cleaners together. Place a plate of sugar snap peas and cubed cheese in front of your child and have them poke them on the pipe cleaners to make a “Peas & Cheese Necklace”. Have fun with patterns and counting as you do this activity with your child. They can eat their necklace when complete!
Popcorn Garland: Pop some popcorn, preferably unsalted and unbuttered. Prepare a needle and thread for your child (you know your child best, only have them do this activity if you’re comfortable letting them use a real needle!). Have them poke popcorn on the needle and create a garland while snacking on popcorn at the same time.
Septemer is Bean Month at Veggie Buds Club and we are excited to bring you this super green recipe from Katie at Eat Pretty Darling! You can find more recipes and tons of fun bean activities in our "Bonkers for Beans!" eBook, check it out here.
Let’s face it, we don’t all have access to farm stands and gardens year round to source our fresh produce each week. Most of us have to count on the grocery store to fill our bellies, but there’s still a fun way to get the kids involved!
Each week me and my sons head out to the grocery store with a color to find! We stick to the produce section and try to pick 4-5 items that fit our color. Sometimes it’s the color on the outside, sometimes it’s the color on the inside. Let your kids pick the items out. Getting kids involved every step of the way can help your picky eater become a little more adventurous!
Now go explore your grocery store and try a monochromatic meal! Make a meal consisting of only your color of the week. Here we picked green to feature the veggie of the month, beans, and paired it with two of our favorite green foods, green grapes and cucumbers. A meal made of one color makes it more fun!
Green Food Ideas
September is Bean Month at Veggie Buds Club and we are excited to bring you this yummy recipe from Heather at Happy Kids Kitchen! You can find more recipes and hours of fun corn activities that are guaranteed to get your kids excited about eating beans in our "Bonkers for Beans!" eBook, check it out here.
This recipe was developed by Heather Staller, a mom of two boys, ages 6 and 4, and cooking instructor specializing in bringing cooking into preschool classrooms. After college, Heather knew she wanted to be a teacher, but first followed her lifelong dream of going to culinary school. Teaching cooking combines both of her passions, and she truly enjoys introducing young children to the joys of cooking with fresh ingredients. Find Heather on Instagram (@heather.happykidskitchen), where she shares inventive kid-friendly recipes and ideas for cooking with kids at home.
Have you ever made your own pickles? A quick “refrigerator” pickle is so much easier than it sounds and no messing around with sterilizing or canning equipment. Just 6 simple ingredients, a night in the fridge, and you’ve got a yummy side dish or snack. Be sure to get the kids into the kitchen to help prep the green beans. They can either use a child-safe knife to trim the ends off the beans or snap them with their fingers. Measure and mix the ingredients for the brine together then pour in into your jar. The hardest part is waiting a little while to give the crunchy, tangy beans a try, but I promise it will be worth it.
Makes 1 Pint Jar
We are excited to bring you a fun (and edible!) activity from Noelle Martin. This one features beans because May is Bean Month at Veggie Buds Club!
Noelle Martin is a Registered Dietitian and mom of three young boys. She has a passion for education, inspiring, and empowering moms to make healthy choices for themselves and their families. Noelle loves involving her children in food planning and preparation for their home and sees the kitchen as a perfect area for teaching both academic and life skills. Follow @MotherhoodandMeals on Instagram for Noelle's nutrition tips, recipes, product reviews, and motherhood moments.
Sometimes children are apprehensive about trying foods because they don’t know how it will taste. Other times they are uncertain of the texture or they worry that if they eat one bite then they will have to finish all that is in front of them. Enter FOOD ART! Being creative with foods allows for a child to have food exposures without the commitment of actually eating the food AND it allows them to touch it to learn more about the texture. Children love crafts and it has been my experience that my boys creativity far outweighs my own. When we do food art they have incredible suggestions to add to my initial vision.
This month in honour of Veggie Buds Club's “bean theme”, the boys helped me make a vegetable based flower garden using beans and peppers. I had a vision for what we would do but they took over and added pepper seeds as “bugs”, and more shapes in the sky as birds and butterflies. After we made it everyone asked to eat some of the food and of course I said YES!!! A total win-win for fun with food followed by a nourishing snack.
Do your kids like food art? If so, what types of things would you enjoy making with veggies your children are apprehensive about?
We are excited to bring you a new monthly series from Katie Blauser, the brains behind Eat Pretty Darling. Each month on our blog we will feature a "Color of the Week" that corresponds with Veggie Buds Club's veggie of the month. May's veggie is BEANS so we can't wait to focus on GREEN veggies this month!
Katie Blauser is the mama of two boys, wife of a picky eater, and food lover at Eat Pretty Darling. She believes in making food fun, healthy, & pretty! Katie’s not only outnumbered by boys in her little family, but also by picky eaters. She loves trying to find new ways to get both kids and adults to eat healthy while making food pretty yummy, pretty healthy, and pretty fun! Find Katie on Instagram (@eatprettydarling), where she shares colorful and cute food ideas for both picky and adventurous eaters.
Color of the Week - GREEN
Let’s face it, we don’t all have access to farm stands and gardens year round to source our fresh produce each week. It’s not always feasible to have our kids helping to grow the food we eat either. Most of us have to count on the grocery store to fill our bellies, but there’s still a fun way to get the kids involved!
Each week we head out to to grocery store with a color to find! We stick to the produce section and try to pick 4-5 items that fit our color. Sometimes it’s the color on the outside, sometimes it’s the color on the inside. It’s a great way to get the kids excited about trying new things! Let your kids pick the items out. We try to get at least one thing he likes and some other things he hasn’t tried or is still learning to like. Even if I’ve offered him something a million times, he gets more interested in trying it if he had a hand in picking it out. Getting kids involved every step of the way can help your picky eater become a little more adventurous. Now go explore your grocery store! A colorful bounty awaits.
Green Food Ideas
There are more out there, but here’s a list to get started!
Green Bean Sticks with Green Dip
Now what to do with all of your colorful food? Try to incorporate these items into your weekly meals. How about a totally green meal such as these Green Bean Sticks with Green Dip?!
Get the kids involved in cooking! Here’s some ways they can help for this recipe:
May is all about BEANS at Veggie Buds Club! We hope you enjoy this delicious recipe from this month's Veggie Buds Club subscription box.
This recipe was developed by Heather Staller, a mom of two boys, ages 5 and 3, and cooking instructor specializing in bringing cooking into preschool classrooms. After college, Heather knew she wanted to be a teacher, but first followed her lifelong dream of going to culinary school. Teaching cooking combines both of her passions, and she truly enjoys introducing young children to the joys of cooking with fresh ingredients. Find Heather on Instagram (@heather_kidskitchen), where she shares inventive kid-friendly recipes and ideas for cooking with kids at home
These green beans are crispy, crunchy, and completely addictive. Kids can get their hands into all aspects of this recipe: use a kid-safe knife to trim the beans, measure and mix the ingredients for the flavorful breadcrumb coating, and take part in the “assembly line” breading of each green bean!
Green Bean Fries
almonds for a grain-free option. Flour can also be replaced with a gluten-free flour
blend or any starch (cornstarch, tapioca flour, or potato starch).
**For dairy-free option, substitute nutritional yeast or omit cheese.
***For egg-free option, use ¼ cup milk mixed with 1 tablespoon ground flax seed.
Creamy Honey-Mustard Dip
We're having fun featuring a new letter each week in our house, and since this is Veggie Buds Club plenty of our activities feature healthy veggies! Below find 9 activities that teach your preschool-aged kids about the letter "B" (and that veggies are fun and tasty!).
1. Read Books!
Enjoy our recommended "B" books featuring veggies and fruit (and honey!):
2. Paint with Broccoli
Simply dip broccoli florets in washable paint and use them as "paintbrushes" and/or slice broccoli florets in half to make "tree stamps". So simple and so fun!
3. Letter "B" Tracing
Download this FREE letter "B" tracing sheet from Veggie Buds Club.
4. Bake Some Beet Brownies!
5. Letter "B" Coloring Pages
Download these FREE letter "B" coloring pages from Veggie Buds Club.
6. Bake Some Broccoli Nuggets
Enjoy this delicious kid-approved recipe that was included in Veggie Buds Club's "Kids Love Broccoli" box! You can find the recipe on on our blog here.
7. Make Beet Watercolor
8. Broccoli Activity Sheets
Have fun with these Broccoli activity sheets! Create the letter "B" by using dot stickers or dot paint with Activity Sheet #1. Fill in the letter "B" with broccoli florets with Activity Sheet #2 (bonus if you have a laminator!).
9. Play Bean Tic Tac Toe
Make a Tic Tac Toe board out of green beans and use two different types of dry beans as the X's and O's! You can also go a step further and create the letter "B" with dry beans and greens beans. Be sure to eat some green beans as a snack while you play!
I hope you enjoy this recipe that was included in Veggie Buds Club's "Kids Love Veggie Soup" box this month! It was developed by the very talented Heather Staller.
Heather is a mom of two boys, ages 4 and 2, and cooking instructor specializing in bringing cooking into preschool classrooms. After college, Heather knew she wanted to be a teacher, but first followed her lifelong dream of going to culinary school. Teaching cooking combines both of her passions, and she truly enjoys introducing young children to the joys of cooking with fresh ingredients. Find Heather on Instagram (@heather_kidskitchen), where she shares inventive kid-friendly recipes and ideas for cooking with kids at home.
Get kids involved in the kitchen- peeling carrots, adding veggies to the pot, and
stirring in those fun alphabet noodles with this veggie-packed, comforting soup.
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-½ small onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
-1 large carrot, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
-1 stalk celery, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch dice
-¼ teaspoon Kosher or coarse sea salt, plus more to season
-1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 medium sized waxy potato (red or yellow skinned), cut into ¼-inch dice
-¼ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
-½ 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes (about ¾ cup)
-3 cups vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
-Handful of green beans, trimmed and cut into small rounds
-½ cup frozen peas, frozen corn, or a combination of both
-½ cup alphabet shaped pasta*
-1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or micro basil
-Freshly ground pepper
-Parmesan cheese, for the top (optional)
1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and ¼ teaspoon of salt and cook until vegetables have softened slightly, about 5 minutes.
2. Add garlic, Italian seasoning, and potatoes. Stir an additional minute.
3. Add tomatoes, broth or water, green beans, and alphabet pasta. Bring pot up to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender and pasta is cooked, about 10 minutes.
4. Stir in frozen peas then turn off heat and stir in fresh basil.
5. Taste soup for seasoning then add in pepper and additional salt, as needed.
6. Ladle into bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of extra basil, if desired.
*Cooked pasta will absorb lots of liquid if left in the soup for an extended period of time. If you’d like to make this soup in advance or freeze a portion to enjoy another time, you will want to cook your pasta in a separate pot, drain, then add to the portion of the soup you will be eating right away.