There are certain winter days when you absolutely have to be warmed up from the inside out. Warm snacks are perfect for an afternoon after sledding or as a part of a preschool winter theme. Children learn that just as clothes keep us warm in winter, warm foods help us out this time of year as well. Plus, sharing warm food you’ve prepared together provides many of the developmental gains mentioned in this post. Here are a few fun snacks to warm you through during a cold winter theme!
Hot chocolate, of course! If you haven’t used one of these Cocomotion machines, you really should check one out. The kids love watching it spin around! Keep in mind that it does get the cocoa pretty hot, so stop before it’s done, or add a little cold milk at the end to cool it down. Use your favorite cocoa mix or try Carnation Instant Breakfast in the place of cocoa if you’re worried about nutrition. (Still plenty of sugar, but at least there are some nutrients involved!)
Bring on the Wassail. Wassail is a favorite drink at our house at Christmastime, or as a cold remedy (cold comforter may be a better term). Here’s the recipe we use. Just be sure to cool it down for the little ones.
Breakfast Cake. Let’s be honest. It’s cake. Muffin-like at best, if that’s any improvement. But my mom let us eat it on special mornings as part of breakfast. That’s what made it so exciting and memorable. We have it now in my own home on birthday mornings or other special occasions. For you healthy food people, I do realize it has its fair share of sugar. I’m not suggesting you serve it everyday, but once and a while makes it a great, warm, special treat. I like to serve it with hot chocolate as we talk about warm winter foods. (Recipe here.)
Soups. Soup is a wonderful winter food, and many are easily prepared with children. Try a stone soup activity like this one. Or my sister-in-law Katie’s Taco Soup. If you can open cans and stir, you’re qualified to make this soup. It’s easy for kids to help with. It’s healthy, tastes great, and if your little ones aren’t soup eaters, tell them it’s bean dip for their chips!
As a child, one of my favorite memories was watching my mom make homemade noodles for chicken noodle soup. If you’re feeling just a bit adventurous (they’re really quite easy) try this recipe here, and use them in place of store-bought egg noodles in your favorite chicken noodle soup recipe or in the recipes here or here. You can let your little ones help out as you roll out the noodle dough and cut it into strips with a pizza cutter. Once they’re in the soup, no one’s going to look at them all lined up, so they really don’t have to be exactly uniform. Just watch how much more likely your kiddos are to eat soup with “their” noodles.
While sharing some warm food it’s a great time to talk about the winter adventures you’ve had, or those that you’re planning. Also a perfect time to talk about how we stay warm on chilly winter days!
Top photo by Dominic Morel.