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6 easy and healthy quarantine recipes you can do together as a family
April 28, 2020

Quarantine family fun: Whip up healthy foods together by making these easy recipes

Extra time at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine could be just the opportunity to get the whole family involved in healthy meal and snack prep.

Cooking can help kids work on fine motor function, practice their math and learn important life skills for the future. Their investment in making the meals may encourage them to try new, healthy dishes too!

Registered dietitian Sonya Islam provides her top tips to get your family cooking new recipes while staying at home, using some of her favorite online recipe sources. Older kids and teens may even be able to prepare them entirely themselves if they’re up for it! Of course, everyone can pitch in on clean-up as well – washing and drying dishes, putting away tools and ingredients, and sanitizing counters.

Prepping wholesome meals: From dull dinners to fun, easy food for the whole family

Pizza beans – Smitten Kitchen

This vegetable-rich dish can be altered to your family’s tastes, including adding meat, changing up spices or swapping vegetables. You can reduce calories and fat by decreasing the cheese to 1 cup.

Little kids can:

  • Soak the beans and watch them plump up!
  • Sprinkle cheese
  • Tear herbs and kale
  • Measure liquids

Older kids can:

  • Shred cheese
  • Chop vegetables

Shopping/storage tips

  • Use any mild bean you can find! A heaping ½ cup of dry beans that have been re-hydrated is equivalent to a 15-ounce can of beans, drained. For this recipe you can either use a 1-pound bag of dry beans (about 2 cups) that have been soaked, or four 15-ounce cans of beans that have been drained.
  • Celery stores for an extra long time in the fridge when wrapped in aluminum foil.
  • If you can’t find crushed tomatoes, buy whole canned tomatoes and use a pair of clean scissors to snip into small bits right in the can.

Vegan egg salad – Nora Cooks

This tofu-based recipe mimics real egg salad and can be served in a sandwich, on a salad or as a side dish. You could also reduce the sugar by swapping in chopped pickles for the relish.

Little kids can:

  • Slice tofu with a dull knife
  • Measure spices
  • Whisk dressing

Older kids can:

  • Slice tofu with a sharp knife
  • Chop pickles
  • Experiment with different spices

Shopping/storage tips

  • If you can’t find firm tofu, use extra firm tofu.
  • Leftovers stay fresh for at least three days, which makes this a great recipe for meal prep!

Chickpea salad Skinnytaste

This healthy, quick salad is a great lunch or side dish. Many kids don’t love the strong flavor of white onions, so you could replace with scallions (which re-sprout when you place the root end in water!)

Little kids can:

  • Soak dry beans (if using)
  • Measure spices
  • Rinse and drain beans
  • Pour and mix ingredients

If making a big batch, let kids shake up the dressing in a jar.

Older kids can:

  • Dice cucumbers and tomatoes
  • Chop onion/scallions

Shopping/storage tips

  • If you can’t find whole tomatoes, swap in halved cherry or grape tomatoes.
  • If you can’t find chickpeas, this recipe works well with any bean! Or you can swap two 5-ounce cans of tuna (drained) for a tasty variation.
  • Leftovers stay fresh for at least three days, which makes this a great recipe for meal prep too!

Sensible snacks and sweets during quarantine

Simple green smoothie ChooseMyPlatequarantine recipes for the family

This nutritious smoothie could be a delicious breakfast or fun snack. The recipe is flexible and can be frozen for a yummy treat later as well!

Little kids can: 

  • Peel banana
  • Help measure ingredients
  • Add ingredients to blender

Older kids can:

  • Core and slice the apple
  • Operate the blender

Shopping/storage tips

  • This recipe doesn’t specify the type of frozen fruit, so take advantage of what’s on sale, use your family’s favorites, or experiment with a variety!
  • Pour any leftovers into molds and freeze for “smoothie popsicles” that can be enjoyed later. If you don’t have popsicle molds, use paper/plastic cups, ice cube trays, empty yogurt containers or mini muffin tins.

Easy homemade Greek yogurt ranch dipCupcakes & Kale Chips

A healthy twist on a favorite condiment, this is an easy way to get kids to chow down on raw veggies! It’s also budget-friendly by using dried spices that you probably already have on hand.

Little kids can:

  • Measure yogurt and spices
  • Mix ingredients

Older kids can:

  • Measure olive oil and apple cider vinegar

Shopping/storage tips:

  • Keep calories and fat low by using low-fat/nonfat Greek yogurt.
  • If you don’t have all the spices on hand, use a base recipe of Greek yogurt, oil and vinegar, and experiment with your own spices to create a personalized flavor combo.
  • This is a thick ranch “dip,” but you could also use as salad dressing by thinning with a couple extra tablespoons of vinegar and/or oil.
  • Cover and refrigerate leftovers; use within 3-4 days.

Flourless peanut butter banana oatmeal cookiesRunning on Real Food

A sweet dessert without the added sugar, these “cookies” are so healthy you can have your dessert for breakfast! This recipe works well with only three ingredients but extras such as dried fruit and chopped nuts can be used to tailor it to your family’s preferences.

Little kids can:

  • Mash the bananas
  • Measure and add ingredients
  • Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet

Older kids can:

  • Preheat/place in oven
  • Check for doneness and remove from oven

Shopping/storage tips:

  • Keep this recipe on hand to use when you have overly ripe bananas that you don’t want to go to waste!
  • Make sure to buy quick oats since old fashioned and steel-cut oats need more time to cook.
  • Store uneaten cookies in the refrigerator for up to one week, or freeze in an airtight bag for up to three months.

Looking for more ideas for family fun while maintaining social distancing? Check out our coronavirus (COVID-19) resources page for a downloadable activity book, a list of online resources and weekly CHoR challenges.

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