Many no-bake ideas include allowing children to assemble or mix ingredients that you provide in creative ways. For example, children can decorate their breakfast pancake with fruits and seeds as part of the mealtime process. You can also provide opportunities for children to engage with their foods by allowing them to construct their meals from a variety of ingredients, as you might with tacos.

Here are a few no-bake ideas that you can explore with children of all ages:

Smoothies – There are countless recipes for smoothies available or the children can create their own. Be sure to incorporate vegetables (kale, cucumber, carrot juice, etc.) as well as fruits for added nutrients. Pour the smoothie mix into popsicle molds and after a few hours in the freezer, you will have a refreshing nutritious snack on a hot day.

Granola mixes – Provide a variety of granola mix ingredients (granola, cereal, raisins/dried fruits, pretzel pieces, seeds, etc.) and allow children to create signature mixtures.

Parfaits – Use a low-sugar yogurt or cottage cheese and granola, seeds, fruits, etc.

Pitas, wraps, or spring rolls – These options may work well for both snack or lunch. Fruits, vegetables, rice, cheese, and protein foods can be offered as filling options. Use lettuce as a wrap for a fun alternative to bread products.

Chicken or tuna salad – Allow children to chop celery, peppers, herbs, etc. to be incorporated into the salad.

Vegetable or fruit salads – Again, the possibilities are endless. Many popular salads sold in restaurants even incorporate a few fruits into their vegetable salads.

Skewers – Provide fruits and cheeses and unsharpened skewers. Encourage children to create patterns as they build their skewers. Most vegetables will be too hard for children to skewer, but tomatoes and cucumbers would work, or you could cook carrots or broccoli and chill them before serving.

Dips and sauces – Pesto, hummus, salsa, and guacamole are just a few of the options in this category. There are many variations to these traditional recipes that can be explored, e.g. corn or mango salsa.

DIY playdough and other sensory materials can also be made in the classroom.

Other ideas? Share them on our Facebook page here.