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Kids in the Kitchen: Ideas for snacks, cooking and more to help keep children occupied

By Sheila Gregory, Currituck Extension

The Sun Snack Attack

Mom, I’m hungry! When you hear this and it’s not mealtime, you know it is time for a snack. Small children need snacks to help them make it from meal to meal. But snacks don’t mean throwing good nutrition out the window. Your child’s snacking mood may vary, but you can always maintain healthy snacking habits. Below are examples of great snacks no matter their snacking mood. Try these suggestions if their snacking mood is:

THIRSTY: skim or low-fat milk, water with lemon, lime or orange wedge

SMOOTH: banana, cottage cheese, yogurt with fruit

CRUNCHY: raw vegetables, apples, popcorn, graham crackers, rice cakes, granola bar, a handful of dry cereal

JUICY: fresh fruit, 100% juice frozen popsicles, cherry tomatoes, blueberries

FUN: fruit, frozen bananas, watermelon, strawberries

REALLY HUNGRY: 1/2 peanut butter sandwich, cereal with milk, bagel with low-fat cream cheese, cheese and crackers


Kids Kitchen

You and your children will both enjoy preparing this recipe. It is not designed for children to make on their own. Supervision and assistance from an adult are required. Getting your children involved in food preparation will go a long way in encouraging them to try new foods and enjoy eating. Children can use gloves for handling chicken.



1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

3½ cups cornflakes, crushed

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into tenders size pieces

1/4 cup barbeque sauce, ketchup, or mustard for dipping sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Whisk the egg and milk together in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Place cornflakes in a plastic bag.
  4. Dip chicken pieces in egg mixture, then shake with cornflakes to coat.
  5. Put coated chicken on a baking sheet.
  6. Carefully place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven.
  8. Serve tenders with warm barbeque, ketchup or mustard dipping sauce.

Protection For FUN In The Sun

As the weather gets warmer, we are all beginning to get a little stir crazy from being stuck at home, you and your family may want to enjoy spending time outside being active. While you are out having fun, protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. It is estimated that we get about 80% of our total lifetime sun exposure in the first 18 years of life. Therefore, sun protection for young children is important to decrease the risk of problems later in life. Exposure to the sun over time increases your risk of skin problems, including skin cancer. Begin teaching your children about sun protection.

There are three simple things you can do to protect yourself and your children from the sun’s harmful rays:

1) Seek shade during the hottest time of the day – 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (daylight saving time 9 a.m.-1 p.m.)

2) Children and other family members should wear hats or visors and loose cotton tee-shirts to protect their skin.

3) Apply sunblock with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, and reapply per directions after playing in the water.

Helping Your Child Be Active and Helpful at Home

Whether you and your family want to be outside or inside during this time there are lots of things you can involve your child in to help keep the house running smoothly. Make housekeeping chores fun and involve the whole family. It will get the chores done and help your child to be both active and helpful.

There are lots of ways to be active at home. Ask your child to help with these jobs:

– Dust furniture

– Pick up toys

– Rake leaves

– Set or clear the table

– Work in the garden

– Feed or walk their pet

For more information about how you can get your kid(s) more active around the house and in the kitchen, contact Sheila Gregory at Sheila_gergory@ncsu.edu or via phone at 252-232-2261.



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