8 Healthy Holiday Recipes for Cooking Together as a Family
Cooking together is never more important than during the holidays, when the focus should be on spending time as a family rather than indulging in unhealthy foods. One way to spend more time as a family is to cook healthy holiday meals together, whether you spend each night of your holiday break in the kitchen or make your one big holiday meal with all hands on deck.
We’re sharing eight healthy holiday recipes to make that possible, but remember: you can cook anything you love and still get your children involved. For example, some easy kid-friendly cooking tasks include:
- Taste testing
If you want to try something new this year, check out the following healthy holiday recipes, all of which are kid-friendly and perfect for cooking together as a family.
Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Your kid’s job: Mashing
This simple holiday recipe is found on nearly every holiday table and you kiddo has one of the most important jobs: mashing the boiled potatoes. Recipe author, Courtney of Courtney’s Sweets, says of her daughter, “Kay LOVES potatoes. She especially loves making mashed potatoes since she gets to use her handy potato masher.” To make it more fun and exciting, buy a masher especially for your little one before it’s time to cook. They’ll be excited to use their new “toy” and feel that their job is extra important.
To make this dish even healthier, add mashed cauliflower or leave out the cheese. No matter what, your kiddo can still be your potato mashing sous chef.
Grinch Fruit Kabobs
Your kid’s job: Sliding the fruit
This cute and festive recipe is as simple as it gets. Not only can your child do the bulk of the work, but he or she will be tickled seeing a stack of Grinches on the plate. All you have to do is cut the fruit and let your little one string the pieces onto a toothpick. Set these out for dessert after your big holiday feast or enjoy as a side dish for your holiday morning breakfast.
Hot Pumpkin Spice Drink
Your kid’s job: Stirring and sprinkling
Your child may never want another hot chocolate again after indulging in this warm holiday drink. With all the ingredients added into a pot, your child can help with the stirring until the mixture begins to boil. Once poured into mugs and topped with whipped creme, their final job is to sprinkle the top with a little pumpkin spice before enjoying until the last drop.
Homemade Peppermint Bark
Your kid’s job: Crunching and sprinkling
This healthy holiday recipe is as homemade as it gets, using 61 percent bittersweet chocolate, chopped dried mint, and your own, homemade peppermint candy. It’s also perfect for cooking with your little one.
Emilie, mom and blogger of Finding Zest, shares her experience cooking peppermint bark with her son: “Wesley had a lot of fun crushing our mini candy canes in a sealed bag with a rolling pin while I worked on melting the almond bark. He used an up and down banging motion that was super effective in breaking them into small pieces. I think this was his favorite part.”
Once the chocolate is melted and poured, your child can also help make, crush and sprinkle the candy cane pieces over the top.
Your kid’s job: Cutting and sprinkling
If you’re looking for a fun, simple lunch recipe for busy holiday days, this is perfect. Your child may be used to making snowflakes with paper, but what about tortillas? With this Martha Stewart recipe, your kids get to make their own quesadilla snowflake the same way they would with a piece of paper:
“Fold plain tortillas in half; then fold into thirds to make one triangle with six layers. Use kitchen shears to cut out a snowflake design; unfold.” Top a tortilla sprinkled with cheese and other ingredients like chicken or broccoli, with the snowflake, and bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Finally, your kids can play with their food and not get in trouble!
Hidden Vegetable Lasagna
Your kid’s job: Everything
Lasagna is one of the best holiday meals you can make thanks to leftovers. Make a big dish for dinner and then heat up plates for lunch, or even dinner, the next day too. During the holiday season, having leftovers like this makes healthy eating a lot less stressful.
This particularly healthy holiday recipe is all about the hidden veggies, including: “Half a cauliflower, a stack of spinach, plenty of mushrooms, onion, carrot, and lentils … To get so much hidden vegetables into my lasagne I use a blender/smoothie maker. Savoury smoothies are brilliant in cooking. I whip up 2 smoothie combinations for this hidden vegetable recipe, a tomato and spinach version and a tomato and mushroom smoothie. These get added to the meat sauce to make this a truly hidden vegetable lasagne.”
What’s even better is that your little one can help nearly every step of the way. They can assist in blending the vegetable mixtures, laying down noodles, and sprinkling cheese. With each layer, they’ll get more and more excited to indulge.
Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls
Your kid’s job: Pouring and forming popcorn balls
Popcorn is the perfect healthy snack for the holiday season, boasting minimal calories while still being filling and tasty. This fun recipe may even take you back to your days as a child in the kitchen, as you pop kernels the old fashioned way: on the stove.
Your child will love watching the popcorn come to life too and can help form them into balls after the freshly coating popcorn has cooled for 1 to 2 minutes. With a little sweet and a little crunch, these make for the perfect holiday dessert.
Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
Your kid’s job: Mashing, stirring and sprinkling
This favorite healthy holiday recipe is not only good for you, but gives the family ample opportunity to cook together. The parent’s job is chopping, cutting and boiling the sweet potato, while your child can jump in for the mashing and stirring portion. Once done, all that’s left is to sprinkle the top with nuts that your child can also help crush into pieces.