I am pretty thrilled to start the Low Carb/Paleo Kids series with these simple little individual cups.
My Johanna got a little precious polka dot tea set for Christmas. Most afternoons the girls gather around the table, pour "tea" (water with lemon juice usually) into their mini cups, and sip and chat. Once the tea party has begun, usually a drifter finds their way to me looking for something to serve with tea. And that is precisely where the vegetable dip & sticks in a cup was born.
Let's back up though.
It is a fascinating noun and verb. Dip is right up there for me with chocolate. I've always done and eaten whatever I needed to just to be able to eat the dip. And so it is for a few of my kids. As I've been experimenting with new snack ideas for my children, I've realized that vegetables are a rarely snacked on food group for kids not only in our house but I'd say in general. How could we snack on more wonderful, colorful vegetables regularly??
By regularly offering vegetables in different ways with different sides, the world of that crunchy snack can be enjoyed by even the littlest eaters. Today's Low Carb/Paleo Kids recipe is something that all aged kids can enjoy. My little 15 month old Rowan likes to try and crunch the carrot while playing with the dip inside his cup. And the older kids think it is the grandest idea to have their own individual cup where they can double dip to their little hearts' content.
This recipe is a 5 minute dip--from start to finish--that is a great base for creating new dips down the road. It uses two staples we always have on hand in our refrigerator: cream cheese and sour cream. We buy both from Costco because they come in large quantities which is great with our large family and we use both cream cheese and sour cream daily (in eggs, recipes, dressings, etc.) being that they both super low carb ingredients (they doesn't raise your insulin).
Once you try this base vegetable dip, experiment with other herbs and mix-ins. The marinated tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes turn the dip into a pretty blush color which is fun for little kids as well.
Planning Ahead for Low Carb Snacking:
- If you are trying to make changes in your children's diet away from grainy snacks or even having other varied snacks, it just takes some extra planning. Make and double the dip recipe in a few minutes one morning and store it in the fridge for when you or the kids might want it throughout the week.
- Always keep dip-able veggies on hand along with base dip ingredients: cream cheese and sour cream are our favorites.
- Keep cut, raw vegetables in containers in the fridge so they are easy to send kids off with, serve up at home in a pinch, or for lunches and regular snacking.
- Invest in a mandoline. It is an exciting way to cut and slice veggies that kids can be excited about. This is our [amazon_link id="B003CN6Q1Y" target="_blank" ]mandoline.[/amazon_link]
- Besides veggies, there are other options for dipping like homemade grain-free crackers, cooked chicken bites, and thinly sliced roasted veggies that kids can enjoy and that change things up a bit.
Note on Presentation:
- If you're just introducing your children to raw veggies as a snack, presentation is everything.
- Pull out your nice glass punch cups, parfait glasses, or dinner glass ware. The more your children, even really young children, are exposed, taught, and experience nicer wares beyond plastic, the more they will know how to treat and care for it. Use these wares when they are home to practice.
Vegetable Dip & Sticks in a Cup On-the-Go:
- Keep a stash of tall, clear plastic cups on hand for travel and heading out the door.
- Fill the cups with a spoonful of dip and dippers and keep in the fridge (make the same day) for kids to grab as they head out the door.
Vegetable Dip & Sticks for a Crowd:
- If you're trying to limit grains, sugary-sweets, and other temptations when you're away your home, make and take this recipe to a party or gathering so you know there will be something you can eat there.
- Double or triple the dip recipe and serve in a bowl with a variety of dippers (mini peppers, carrots, broccoli, squash, radishes) on a platter for your family or entertaining.
- For baby showers or bridal showers, birthdays or other parties, spoon up dip in individual clear plastic cups with a handful of dippers inside. Guests can simply grab a cup and enjoy!
kid's vegetable dip
Makes 1.5 cups of dip
1/2 lbs. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp greek seasoning
1/8-1/4 tsp fresh garlic, minced
2-3 marinated roasted tomatoes in garlic and herbs (We get ours in a jar from Costco) or sun-dried tomatoes
salt to taste
Add cream cheese and sour cream to a food processor. Process until combined. Add remaining ingredients and process. Add salt to taste.
Chill for an hour if time allows. If not, spoon dip into individual cups for dipping or into one bowl.
When I make this dip the five kids and myself can eat it all in one snack sitting. If you have fewer to feed, spoon up what you'll use and refrigerate the rest for more snacking, to drizzle on sauteed chicken, or, with a little avocado oil, as an excellent salad dressing.
- Consciously use what you know your children already like. A great place to start for beginner veggie-snackers is thinly cut carrots.
- Slowly add other raw veggies that may be new to them with the happily eaten veggies they already like, like small cut broccoli florets or bright and beautiful mini peppers.
- If you opt for serving the dip in one larger bowl instead of individual cups, you can offer many more dipping options for kids to explore.
- If your child is not sure of dip but will eat the veggies plain, let them. Offering something new and exciting sides, like dip, might be something they want to try later.
Other Low Carb/Paleo Kids posts in the series: