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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

15 Easy Recipes for Kids That Don’t Require an Oven

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15 Easy Recipes for Kids That Don’t Require an Oven

When summer’s in full swing, you definitely don’t want to turn on the oven. And with kids out of school, you need to keep them busy. What better way to do that than involve them in the kitchen making some fun and easy treats together?

These treats are a healthier alternative to candy and slushies and ice cream bars. And they’re so easy to make!

It’s a great way to spend some time together, start building healthy habits, and get kids involved in the process of their food. Perfect for a rainy day, or when you all need a break from the sun.

Here are 15 easy recipes for kids to try this summer

1. Sugar-Free Watermelon Raspberry Popsicles

    All you need to make these beauties is fruit, a blender and popsicle molds. Getting some popsicle molds will be well worth the investment, since pure fruit based popsicles are getting so expensive.

    You can use these molds over and over again every year, trying different flavors and combinations.

    Get the recipe by Dreena Burton

    2. 5-Ingredient No Bake Brownies

      With just 5 ingredients (plus an optional chocolate drizzle), you can get these super fudgy brownies going any day of the week. And with no added sugar, you can rest assured these are adding nutrition to growing bodies with every bite.

      Chances are you’re going to get requests to make these again and again, so keep the date supply stocked at all times…

      Get the recipe by Brittany Mullins of Eating Bird Food

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      3. Refreshing Creamsicle Smoothie

        Get that creamsicle flavor at home, with fresh oranges and all healthy ingredients. No driving, no lines, no disposable cups.

        These are a perfect mid-afternoon refresher when things have been hot and wild in the summer sun. Make your own, to sip while the kiddos are slurping.

        Get the recipe by Kathy Patalsky of Healthy Happy Life

        4. Almond Butter Rice Crisp Treats

          A vegan twist on rice crispie squares, made with natural almond butter and brown rice syrup, is easy to put together and not quite as goopy as the marshmallow version.

          Kids will feel super pleased with themselves, and because rice crips are so chewy, these might just slow them down long enough to sit.

          Get the recipe by Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows

          5. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

            Game to try something different? These cookie dough bites are made with a base of chickpeas for a low-glycemic treat. And with no raw eggs, there’s nothing to worry about – go fancy and make the truffles with the coating, or just eat the cookie dough right from the bowl.

            Get the recipe by Ricki Heller, on veganook

            6. Chocolate Hummus

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              If you want to try another interesting sweet treat with chickpeas, this chocolate hummus looks perfect to pair with fresh fruit for a sneaky high-protein snack. This will fuel lasting energy through the afternoon, and fill small bodies with important nutrients, like calcium and iron, as well as those powerful antioxidants in cocoa.

              Get the recipe by Terita Heath-Wlaz on Super Healthy Kids

              7. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Bites

                Although chocolate chips and coconut are hard to top, the base of these energy bites could lead you in all kinds of different directions.

                Get creative in making different flavor combos, based on what’s in your cupboards. With a bit of flaxseed in there, you’ll boost the omega-3 content which is important for kids.

                Get the recipe by Marly of Namely Marly

                8. Raw Vegan Candy Apples

                  This could make a fun choose-your-topping adventure. The vegan caramel is so easy to whip up. Then set out small plates with different toppings, and kids can create their own masterpieces. These are just as much fun to eat as they are to create!

                  Get the recipe by Vanessa Croessmann of Vegan Family Recipes

                  9. Banana French Toast with Caramelized Bananas

                    This recipe is best for slightly older kids, or younger kids could be your sous-chef to dip the bread and pass to you for frying. But no matter what, get the whole family ready to enjoy a Sunday brunch feast with this delicious french toast.

                    The caramelized bananas are a cut above your average french toast topping, and you might want to add some berries or sliced melon.

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                    Get the recipe by Richa Hingle of Vegan Richa

                    10. Chunky Monkey Overnight Oats

                      This is a perfect post-dinner project and can set everyone up for a healthy and delicious breakfast to grab and go in the morning. Who knows, if they get hooked on it you could try to keep it going through the school year!

                      Get the recipe by Mel of A Virtual Vegan

                      11. Chocolate Cherry Nice Cream

                        With just four ingredients, this is the epitome of easy recipes for kids – and is so incredibly delicious! Cherries have such a rich flavor, and this will make for a supremely decadent dessert. Homemade ice cream without all the sugar and dairy is a totally healthy way to wind up the evening.

                        Get the recipe by Dianne Wenz of Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen

                        12. Watermelon Blueberry Salad

                          It’s not possible to get too much watermelon in the summer, and this easy fruit salad is so irresistible you may have to make this daily while it’s in season. With a zesty pop of flavor from mint and lime, this is a sure-fire winner.

                          Get the recipe by Amy Katz of Veggies Save the Day

                          13. No-Bake Chocolate Cereal Layer Cake

                            With just seven ingredients, this cake is easy enough for anyone to make. Adults will probably want to handle the frosting, but the cake itself is so simple.

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                            It looks so impressive that anyone would feel proud to have made it, and the kids will surely revel in presenting their creation to the table for a decadent dessert.

                            Get the recipe by Nicole Axworthy, for Nature’s Path

                            14. Almond Date No-Bake Cookies

                              These little guys are over-the-top cute, and Audrey gives so many images of ideas to try with this easy no-bake cookie base. From hedgehogs to stars to hearts to fish and beyond… Let your creative sides go wild, and see what you come up with!

                              Get the recipe by Audrey of Unconventional Baker

                              15. Healthy Snickers Ice Cream Bites

                                These look – and taste – so decadent that you wouldn’t believe how healthy these little bites are! With only four ingredients, they are incredibly easy to make.

                                Warning: they will likely become addictive to anyone who bites into one. Tempting thought it may be to make a giant batch, you may want to keep a limited supply on hand.

                                Get the recipe by Rhian of Rhian’s Recipes

                                Kitchen Tips for Kids

                                Obviously be careful with anything sharp, like knives and food processor blades, and anything hot, like a frying pan.

                                Kids might like wearing an apron to feel like a chef, and it will help keep clothes at least somewhat clean. They might even want to have an afternoon session to decorate their own special apron.

                                Even if they can’t yet do all the steps of a recipe themselves yet, involving them in the process shows them how their favorite treats come together. Giving them a taste for the abundant flavors of wholesome healthful foods early on helps to set kids up for healthy habits in the long term.

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                                Making a mess in the kitchen is a rite of passage for any budding chef. But my dad always used to ask me when we finished any project what the most important part was. Cleaning up!

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                More by this author

                                Heather Nicholds

                                A vegan, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and a food lover.

                                15 Tasty Probiotic Drinks That Are Worth Trying for Better Digestive Health 15 Easy Recipes for Kids That Don’t Require an Oven 27 Healthy Pressure Cooker Meals (with Easy Recipes) 17 Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for the Meat Lovers in Your Life

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                                Last Updated on October 7, 2021

                                Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

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                                Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important (And How To Do So)

                                In today’s chaotic world, having family time isn’t always easy. It can get pretty hard to coordinate schedules, especially if the family is large. Life demands that we work, attend school, nurture friendships, hobbies, etc. All of those things are extremely time-consuming and important—but so is spending time with your family.

                                Why is family time so important? Because we all need love and support, and a good, strong family can provide that regularly. For children, spending time with their family helps shape them into good, responsible adults, improve their mental health, and develop strong core values.

                                There are many positive effects of spending time with your family. My family and I, for instance (and this includes grandchildren as well), meet every Tuesday night for dinner and games. My older son and I take turns cooking. This gives all of us a chance to try some new recipes. After dinner, we play games. And without fail, they inspire competitiveness and laughter. As family night has evolved, the grandkids have invited their friends over as well, creating the need for more chairs but also expanding our circle of fun.

                                Aside from the obvious fun and games, there are other reasons why spending time with your family is paramount. In this article, I will provide you with multiple reasons why spending time with your family regularly is a win-win. And then, I will lay out some ways on how to do it.

                                Let’s get started, shall we?

                                Why Spending Time With Your Family Is Important

                                Here are six reasons why it’s important to spend time with your family.

                                1. Provides the Opportunity to Bond

                                When you spend time together as a family—talking about your day, your highs, your lows—it fosters communication. As parents, it gives you the chance to listen to your children, to hear them out, to learn about what’s going on in their world. It also provides you with the opportunity to use life situations as teaching moments.

                                Before our Tuesday night dinner/game nights, my family used to see each other pretty regularly but not consistently, especially the grandkids. Our family night changed all that. Now, it’s guaranteed that the grandchildren, along with some of their friends, will be there. Not only do I get to find out what’s been happening in their lives, but they also get to know us better. It’s creating memories they can treasure forever, as well as modeling the Get-Together tradition for when they eventually have families of their own.

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                                “Spending time partaking in everyday family leisure activities has been associated with greater emotional bonding within families.”[1]

                                2. Teaches the Value of Family

                                Taking the time to be with your family lets your children know they are valued—that spending time together is a priority. I know that in today’s world, both parents are busy as both usually working. What better way to let your children know they are loved than by carving out time each week to spend with them?

                                According to Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., “words like honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage are core to centuries of religious, philosophical, and family beliefs. Use them and others to express and reinforce your family values. Teach children the behaviors that flow from these principles. Use quotes to ignite meaningful dinner conversations and encourage kids to talk about these values.”[2]

                                3. Enhances Mental Well-Being

                                Spending that quality time together gives your children a safe platform in which to express themselves, ask questions about things that are bothering them, or talk about their day and things they’ve learned. I know that my 9-year old granddaughter can’t wait until it’s her turn to talk about her day. She usually goes on and on and has to be stopped to give everyone else a chance to talk about their goings-on.

                                “Research shows the quality of family relationships is more important than their size or composition. Whoever the family is made up of, they can build strong, positive relationships that promote wellbeing and support children and young people’s mental health.”[3]

                                For children, having the opportunity to seek advice from parents they trust—as well as being able to have a sounding board and help with problem-solving—is priceless. In addition, being able to voice their opinions and be heard—and to feel like what they have to say matters—is an esteem-builder. All of these can have a very impactful positive effect on their well-being.

                                4. Helps the Child Feel Loved

                                How do you think a child feels knowing their parents want to spend time with them—talking, sharing experiences, playing games, listening to them? It will make them feel as though they are important, and a child that feels important is happier and more apt to thrive. Setting aside chores or work to spend time with your children demonstrates that they’re essential—that they matter. What a gift to give your child!

                                “If a child has your undivided attention, it signals that they are loved and important to you. This can be further nurtured by experiencing joyful activities together, as it demonstrates that you want to spend time with your children over and above all of the daily demands.”[4]

                                5. Creates a Safe Environment

                                If you regularly spend time with your children, you are also creating an atmosphere of trust. The more trust they have, the more likely they are to share with you what’s going on in their world. As they get older, you’re going to want to know. Negative influences can show up at any time, but if you’ve always been there for your child, they are more apt to come to you and ask for your advice.

                                Spending time together generates familiarity and feelings of being supported. When a child feels safe and comfortable, they’re more likely to open up. This is one way to get to know your child and know what’s on their minds. Are they okay? Do they need your guidance? If so, how?

                                6. Reduces Stress

                                This is significant. We all suffer from stress at one point or another in our lives. Spending time with family helps alleviate that stress. It’s an opportunity to talk things out, get feedback, and maybe brainstorm for a solution to the problem that is causing the stress.

                                According to Brandy Drzymkowski, “During the holidays, your closest five people probably shifts to family and friends. You may even get to see loved ones who live far away. Good news! This can actually help lower your stress levels. Studies show ‘face-to-face interaction…counteracts the body’s defensive ‘fight-or-flight’ response.’ In other words, quality time spent with loved ones is nature’s stress reliever.”[5]

                                So, now that you know some of the benefits, what are some ideas for making family time happen?

                                How to Make Family Time Happen

                                Here are four things you can do to make family time happen and spend more time with them.

                                1. Family Dinners

                                This, as I said above, is a wonderful way to spend time together. While you’re having dinner, you have the chance to discuss things that are going on in your lives—the ups, the downs, and everywhere in between. It’s like having a buffer against life’s challenges.

                                Aside from that, eating dinner together has many additional benefits. Studies have shown that for kids who eat regularly with their families, there is less risk of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and depression.[6]

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                                “Our belief in the ‘magic’ of family dinners is grounded in research on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular family meals.” It further states, “We recommend combining food, fun and conversation at mealtimes because those three ingredients are the recipe for a warm, positive family dinner—the type of environment that makes these scientifically proven benefits possible.”[7]

                                According to Parenting NI, “children and adolescents who spend more time with their parents are less likely to get involved in risky behavior. According to studies done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse via Arizona State University, teens who have infrequent family dinners are twice as likely to use tobacco, nearly twice as likely to use alcohol and one and a half times more likely to use marijuana.”[8]

                                As you can see, there are multiple benefits to spending time with each other routinely. You can’t go wrong with this family activity.

                                2.  Regular Movie Nights

                                This is another fun event, although, from personal experience, I have to caution that choosing a movie that everyone wants to see is not easy. So, give yourselves plenty of time so you don’t spend two hours searching for a movie, and then end up watching no movie at all because the night is practically over. Try and choose a movie before the day, if possible.

                                Afterward, open it up for discussion. Ask questions pertinent to the movie. What do you think of ABC? Should they have done that? Would you have done something differently? There are so many questions you can ask to spark a conversation and keep the night going.

                                3. Game Night

                                This is another occasion for great fun. If you have a competitive spirit, it makes it even more fun. There are numerous games out there—Balderdash, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Charades, to name a few—that can create fun havoc. All I can say is, on game nights, don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s okay if you lose the game. The fun is in being together, laughing, debating, and having a good time.

                                In addition, “Playing board games is great for children for many reasons besides the obvious; it’s fun to play games! Age appropriate games can help children to think strategically, solve problems creatively, work on pattern recognition and build simple math skills. They also help children develop social skills such as following rules, taking turns, and graceful winning or losing. Additionally, a family game night provides an opportunity for children to bond with siblings, parents and family members as well as peers. It can promote tradition building and establish a fun routine.”[9]

                                So, go find your family a game and start having fun!

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                                4. Sharing a Hobby

                                If you and one of your kids like to do the same things, do it more often. For example, my oldest son and his teenage son go on long bike rides together on the weekends. Not only do they get to exercise, but they also get to talk and look at beautiful sceneries. They’ve also incorporated cooking into their routine. They plan the meal, shop, and prepare—activities that bring them closer together.

                                Sharing a hobby is a great way to bring family members together. It bonds people in amazing ways. According to Alison Ratner Mayer, LICSW, “One of the easiest and most important ways to build a child’s self-esteem is to spend time with them doing something not only that they enjoy but something that you also enjoy. There is a special magic that happens between a parent and a child when they share a mutually beloved activity. It sends the message to the child that their parents are having fun, true, honest, real fun, with them.”[10]

                                Final Thoughts

                                Spending time with the family is an investment. It is an investment in the happiness, well-being, and security of that system. It can also serve as a way to break out of the daily rut and the constant worldly demands, while at the same time, building a strong family unit.

                                Even though it isn’t always easy to find the time, finding the time is key to staying close and to providing and receiving love and support. There is no greater gift than the gift of time. That’s what we all seem to be missing nowadays. So, in giving that gift consistently, everyone feels loved and appreciated.

                                The family that takes the time to interact regularly is typically happy. They know they are part of a tribe, and that’s essential in today’s chaotic world. To know that there are people whom you can count on—people who will have your back in times of need—is invaluable.

                                Now, go and plan something plan with your family, if you haven’t already.

                                Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Pittsburgh Parent: Spending Time Together—Benefits of Family Time
                                [2] Roots of Action: Integrity: How Families Teach and Live Their Values
                                [3] Beyond Blue: Healthy Families
                                [4] Esperance Anglican Community School: The importance of family time
                                [5] Brandy Drzymkowski: Spending Time With Loved Ones Reduces Stress
                                [6] Harvard Graduate School of Education: Harvard EdCast: The Benefit of Family Mealtime
                                [7] The Family Dinner Project: BENEFITS OF FAMILY DINNERS
                                [8] Parenting NI: The Importance of Spending Time Together
                                [9] WNY Children: Family Game Night- The Benefits of Game Play
                                [10] Child Therapy Boston: The Benefits of Sharing a Hobby With Your Child

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