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Have fun cooking with your kids at home
When you’re at home with your kids, a fun way to spend time with them is to invite them to lend a hand in the kitchen. Kids love to be around their parents and help out--particularly when food is involved. It is also a wonderful idea to bring something new to the table (literally and figuratively), especially now when kids have been home for days and growing more restless by the minute. Cooking is not only a fun new activity to introduce to your children but also a great opportunity to pass on family recipes, talk about nutrition, and nurture gratitude for food. Kids can also learn that by putting in the effort, they can get a (delicious) reward! That’s the icing on the cake. One piece of advice for cooking with kids is to delegate tasks based on their ages and experiences. For example, younger children could gather and stir ingredients in a bowl, which helps them learn new words. Older children could crack eggs and test out their math skills by measuring ingredients and converting units. Late teens could use the stove and cutting board, and, of course, everyone can help with the taste testing! Now, roll up your sleeves, tie on the aprons, and get to cooking! Fast Food At Home Your kids may miss going through the McDonald’s drive-through or carrying out a steaming box of freshly made pizza, but don’t fret! You can always deliver healthier alternatives through these recipes. Build-Your-Own Pizza Ground Beef Tacos Chinese Pork Fried Rice Turkey Sloppy Joes Deli in Your Kitchen Salads are both easy and delicious meals to quickly whip up! You can follow the recipes below or get creative with the ingredients. You can even turn some of the salads below into sandwiches or sides for other meals! Egg Salad Tuna Salad Pesto Pasta Potato Salad MasterChef Junior-Level With these recipes, your kids can try their hand at meals that are a little more advanced! After tackling these yummy dishes, you can then surprise your junior master chefs with a certificate because they deserve it. Kid-Pleasin’ Lasagna Baked Potato Soup Chicken Zucchini Casserole Tortilla Bake Desserts Galore These fun and easy recipes can make great after-dinner treats or yummy snacks between meals. Feel free to get creative with the decorating, too! If you have icing or sprinkles, why not? Cooking is all about experimentation. Banana Bread Chocolate Brownies Oatmeal Cookies Cornbread Muffins Now that you have a list of recipes to try out with your kids, you can have fun for days and raise little chefs! This is an amazing way for you to spend quality time with your loved ones and create memories you can look back on fondly. Take plenty of pictures and frame them for the kitchen! For some extra fun, you can turn this into a 30-day cooking challenge, look up more recipes, or create your own based on what’s in your pantry. Maybe you can focus on breakfast one week with fun omelets and waffles! Maybe your kid particularly likes Asian cuisine and wants to experiment with turning instant ramen into a gourmet noodle dish! There is so much room for fun and learning here, so enjoy and happy cooking with your kids! Share pictures of what you make by tagging us on Twitter and Instagram and using hashtag #JEIChefKids.
Back to school lunches without the hassle
School is just around the corner, and that means no more raiding the fridge for last-minute lunch ideas. Lunches need to be quick to assemble, nutritionally complete, and last sitting in a lunch bag for a couple of hours. This can be tough, meeting all three of the criteria mentioned above, but it is not an impossible task! This past summer we created a list of easy meal ideas for summer lunches. With back to school season fast approaching, parents not only have to worry about packing a quick, nutritious lunch but how that packed lunch is going to impact their child’s day. Often times, children indulge in what parents have packed for them during the regular lunch period. Other times, they drool over what their peers have been packed whether that’s because it looks, smells, or tastes more delicious then what was packed for them. Some times, they don’t eat their lunch at all because they are worrisome of what their peers may say once they open their lunch box. That is why it is important to emphasize planning lunches ahead of time or even having your child involved in the lunch-making process. By doing this, it ensures those lunches are doing exactly what they need to be doing: nurturing your child mid-way through that long, exhausting school day. To take away some of the school year preparation anxiety, we have gathered together some unique ways your child can enjoy their lunch without any lunch-time anxieties! Meal Prep - Turkey taco lunch bowl - Buffalo chicken meatball bento box - Build your own pizza - Meat and cheese pinwheels - PB&J triangles - Sandwich skewers - Tomato bruschetta 2 ways - Lettuce wrap box - Mediterranean box Prep for the Week - Egg salad - Tuna salad - Couscous salad - Banana bread - Energy balls - Pasta salad with fruit - Pesto pasta with tomatoes Night Before Snack Prep - Froyo fruit cups - Homemade chewy granola bars - Yogurt parfait box - Peanut butter protein box - Strawberry fruit rollers - Hard-boiled eggs - Sliced cucumber - Melons - Mangoes - Cheese and crackers No Prep Snacks - Cheese sticks - Fruits and vegetables (i.e. bananas, apples, clementines, grapes, carrots) - Yogurt - Fruit cups - Applesauce - Pretzels - Nuts
Must-have skills for children #10: practicing self-care
Just like it’s important to brush and floss your teeth regularly to avoid cavities, it’s important to exercise proper mental health before you burn out. This is something you can do with the help of self-care. Self-care is all about creating the proper routines and lifestyle choices to take care of your body and mind before you need it. And if you need self-care, your child needs it, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more children suffer from stress and anxiety than ever before, and this may worsen as they age. The earlier you introduce self-care to your child, the better they can handle stress down the road. Think of it as a preventative measure to fight off stress and dial up joy in your child’s life! Teach them about the importance of self-care, and then guide them with tips, such as... Exercise Habits for a Healthy Body Proper physical health allows for proper mental health. For your child to show themselves love, they need to care for their body by exercising proper habits. Even slight dehydration can cause a drop in mood, lower performance, and affect the memory, so your child needs to make sure they are drinking enough every day. They should also move around to increase circulation in the body and the brain, which boosts the mood and improves thinking. What may seem to be basic orders of the day are the foundation of good self-care. Your child should practice incorporating these into their daily routines. They can track their daily water intake, turn off their phone at night for better sleep, join a sports team, and eat their greens in the name of self-care. Reward Yourself—You Deserve It The hustle mindset is so deeply ingrained in modern times that people have a hard time allowing themselves breaks. They work, work, work, then feel guilty when they’re not working, which is why the hustle culture has been criticized as damaging to mental health. Breaks are important and well-deserved rewards for productivity or hardships. No one should feel bad for taking them. Let your child practice this mindset as early as possible. This way, they can take care of their mental health and energy, preventing burnout and depression. “Being always on can create a constant sense of anxiety and like there is always something we should be doing.” Dr. Alice Boyes On top of breaks, your child should get in the habit of allowing themselves rewards or treats. Depending on their age, you can provide these or they can practice rewarding themselves. They can indulge in a slice of chocolate cake, watch their favorite movie, purchase a game they wanted for weeks, or host a dance party! They should realize that they deserve to feel good, particularly after completing a task or experiencing a challenge. This helps them release tension and prepare for the next task and reward for a positive cycle. Quiet the Mind to Relax A TV break could be a good reward for hard work, but too much screen time can overload the senses, leading to irritation and impatience. The same thing happens when your child is overthinking or multi-tasking, which hinders the brain’s ability to sort information. So what can your child do to ease all this pressure on their brain? They can focus on one task by engaging in a hobby, like reading or writing, in peaceful silence. Even when tackling schoolwork or chores, they should pay attention to one rather than multiple things at a time. Otherwise, they’ll feel overwhelmed and become scatterbrained, which actually slows down the whole process! Your child can also leave behind all the hustle and bustle by going to a quiet place, enjoying time alone, meditating, or taking a walk in nature. Practice Self-Compassion “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” Jack Kornfield Your child may show great compassion for others, but are they showing themselves the same care and attention? In a society that might shun the idea of the “self” as “selfish” or “self-centered,” your child might put others before themselves too often. They may repress their feelings in an unhealthy way or be too hard on themselves. Instead, they should rediscover the good in thinking about themselves through terms like “self-care,” “self-love,” and “self-compassion.” Self-compassion is knowing there is nothing wrong with not having all of the answers and asking others for help. It is forgiving themselves for shortcomings and mistakes, for being proud of themselves for growing and learning. A few other ways they can give themselves the attention, love, and compassion they need are through journaling about their feelings, opening up to others, and artistic expression. People can’t pour from an empty glass, so it’s okay—actually encouraged—for them to make sure they’re feeling their best so others can, too. — More and more attention has been placed on mental and emotional health over the years as people recognize the importance it holds in a fulfilling life. If you want your child to be able to focus well, strengthen resilience against hardships, and treat themselves with respect and kindness, the best thing you can do is teach them the must-have skill of self-care. JEI Learning Center recognizes the importance of a healthy mentality in effective learning and personal growth. We hope that as your child continues to internalize self-care in partnership with our grit-centric JEI Self-Learning MethodⓇ, you can see your child mature into a joyful, intelligent, and inspired learner for life. Learn more about the benefits of the JEI Self-Learning MethodⓇ. Contact a JEI Learning Center near you today!