December 2009: Holiday Cooking with Kids

Happy Holiday Season!  It’s that time of year when you decorate the house, put on some holiday tunes, and get the oven going to make some amazing smells in your home!  There is no better time to connect with your kids in the kitchen and build long-lasting family traditions. Yum!

This month we’ve invited a Healthy Kids Ideas Exchange guest author who is a renowned expert in teaching kids cooking/nutrition)!  I am bubbling with excitement to introduce this month’s guest contributor: Jodi Balis.  Jodi is not only a family friend and a Registered Dietician, she has ten years of experience teaching kids how to cook and somehow manages three (yes THREE) jobs:  Director of Nutrition Education at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington DC, owner of Red Lentil Consulting, and co-producer of “Fooditude, Kids TV with a Bite.”   For those of you that are interested in learning more about amazing Jodi, I’ve included her full bio below along with website links for Fooditude and Red Lentil Consulting.  Please check them out!

For this month’s Healthy Kids Ideas Exchange, Jodi came up with an awesome list of Tips When Cooking With Kids.  She’s also shared with us two recipes that highlight the kid-friendly tasks associated with each recipe.  I’ve also included links to three Nurture pieces that we use with kids (it might be a fun review for you and your kids):

Keeping it Clean

Reading a Recipe

Safety Tips

I hope you enjoy this newsletter, the recipes, and this wonderful holiday season!

Jodi’s Tips When Cooking with Kids
·        Finding ingredients can be fun with a kitchen scavenger hunt!
·        Designate aprons, old shirts, and colorful bandanas as “cooking clothes”.
·        Read recipe beforehand to find active kid-friendly “ing” tasks (scooping, measuring, crushing, patting, etc).
·        Laugh together about the spills.
·        Set out placemats or plastic cutting boards to designate a work space and keep messes contained.
·        Use a separate bowl if exact measurements are what you need. This way, no tears over spills.
·        Use bowls with high sides.
·        Make clean up part of the cooking activity.
·        Help kids to make food containers fun with decorations such as stickers, drawings, etc.
·        Rate the foods you make and vote on which recipes are the family favorites.

Pumpkin Whip Parfait

Jodi’s Kid-Tested Recipes

Pumpkin Whip Parfait

Easy Holiday Bean Smash

More information about our guest author:  Jodi Balis RD is the Director of Nutrition Education Programs at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington DC. At the food bank, Jodi creates and teaches nutrition education trainings for food bank agencies, manages and oversees grants and administrative aspects of the department, develops new nutrition education programs and initiatives, and guides the vision and mission of the Nutrition Education Department.  Previously a Nutrition Educator with the Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program in Maryland, Jodi worked with elementary schools to improve the nutrition environment, trained teachers to incorporate nutrition into the school curriculum, and directly taught youth about cooking, school gardening, and healthy eating. Jodi was also Operation Frontline Manager in St. Louis for four years, where she taught and coordinated classes, and recruited and trained volunteer chefs and nutritionists for the six-week cooking and nutrition program. She also regularly appeared in a cooking segment on Health Matters for 5 years, a local TV show in St. Louis and made an appearance on “Good Morning America”, demonstrating meal planning and healthy eating on a budget. On the side, Jodi has been a cooking teacher in the community for eight years, teaching at Whole Foods, Wild Oats, St. Louis Community College,  Fontbonne University, and Missouri Botanical Gardens, to name a few. She currently provides cooking classes and value tours at several Whole Foods stores in the DC metro area.  In her spare time, you can find Jodi cooking at home, doing yoga, spending time with her husband, taking leisurely walks, and blogging.

Red Lentil Consulting website:
Fooditude Kids TV with a Bite website:

Happy holidays and happy eating!


Disclaimer: This column is for information only, and no part of its contents should be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, recommendation or endorsement by the author. You should always ask your physician for his or her recommendation before starting any new health-related activity.


  1. 2 more ideas:

    Apple Oatmeal Cookies
    1/2 cup softened butter/butter substitute
    1 cup raw sugar
    2 eggs
    1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/4 cup milk substitute
    1 finely chopped apple
    1 cup raisins
    Beat butter/butter substitute, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until creamy. Stir in uncooked oatmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. When completely mixed, stir in milk substitute, apple, and raisins. Drop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until cookies are set. SERVES: 24 cookies

    Lemon or Lime Bars
    1 1/2 cups almond flour
    2 T. coconut flour
    1 T. powdered stevia
    1/2 cup soft butter or half coconut oil and half butter

    Directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together and press in 9×9 pan. Bake about 20 minutes until golden.

    2/3 cup lemon or lime juice
    1/2 tsp. lemon extract
    4 eggs
    2 T. raw honey, pure maple syrup, or agave syrup
    1/2 tsp. lemon flavored liquid stevia
    1/2 cup coconut sugar
    2 T. coconut flour
    1/2 can coconut milk (Thai Kitchen full fat)

    Directions. Put all ingredients in a blender and pour on top of crust. Bake in a 350 degree oven until light brown on top of knife comes out clean, about 20-30 minutes. When cooled, add fresh berries or whipped cream topping, if desired. SERVES: 12 bars

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