Any parent knows that feeding young kids can be a challenge. Even for those of us who have the best eaters a mom could hope for, it just is. If it’s not the task of dealing with picky eaters, the sheer monotony of having to come up with three meals and a few snacks that everyone will be pleased with every single day, is enough to keep many of us absolutely dreading the kitchen. But take it from this veteran mom…it doesn’t always have to be like that. Feeding kids can actually be a lot of fun when you allow yourself to loosen up and get creative with things like snacks and even more rewarding when you get your kids involved in the process.
An easy way to get your kids in on the cooking action is to have them help you whip up some snacks for the whole family to enjoy and to pick a fun theme for the food. Lately, my kindergartener has been super into Baby Shark and with the new series Baby Shark’s Big Show! coming out on Nickelodeon on Friday, March 26 at 12:30/11:30c, we thought it was the perfect thing to draw some inspiration from. The show is all about Baby Shark being adventurous, trying new things and having fun with friends and family, which is exactly what I hope to get my kids to do when snack time rolls around. Remember to set your DVR for Fridays at 12:30/11:30c on Nickelodeon to never miss inspiration from the show!
We’ve always liked the idea of using some of our kids’ favorite characters to get them to try new things. There’s no denying that Baby Shark is too cool not to be convincing. And of course, it’s especially fun to whip up a batch of snacks together to enjoy while perhaps watching an episode or two of a new TV show like Baby Shark’s Big Show! on Nickelodeon or even playing some of the catchy, original songs from the series. So why not just go with a theme and see how it goes over with the kids? Plus, most kids love being in the kitchen with mom and will take pride in the dishes they help prepare which makes them more likely to gobble them up with a smile on their faces, especially when you incorporate something special like a Baby Shark’s Big Show! theme. Get ready to be shaking your tail fins to awesome new songs while cooking in the kitchen!
It may not always be practical to get in the kitchen with your kids, but whenever it is, you should definitely take the opportunity. Not only is it a fun bonding experience—especially if you can find a way to make a connection with something they already enjoy like a TV character or favorite show—but it’s also a great way to spend some quality time together, to teach your kids basic life skills and to introduce them to new flavors, including the tastes many of us Latina moms grew up with. You could even help persuade your kiddos to try new things by for example saying “Oh, I bet Grandma Shark would love this one” or “This would be great to fuel you up for your adventures with Baby Shark!”
Our attempt at Baby Shark-themed snacks led to some seriously awesome fun and my kids got to be creative—they even gave me some ideas that I don’t think I would have thought of on my own. And you know what else? They ate all the snacks faster than it took to make them! My almost nine-year-old was even totally into it thanks to the exciting Baby Shark’s Big Show! theme. I say that’s a win. To help you get inspired to cook with your own kids whatever their ages, I’m sharing the five Baby Shark’s Big Show! themed snacks we made this week that are all chock-full of delicious Latino flavors.
Seaweed Dip With “Shark Fin” Chips
This “seaweed” dip makes for a perfect afternoon snack and it might even get your kids to eat some spinach! Yes, the dip is made out of spinach, not seaweed, but the kids will love the idea.
I like to make a healthier spinach dip by combining equal parts softened cream cheese and whole milk plain Greek yogurt. Then I steam one five-ounce package of spinach with some adobo, garlic powder and chili flakes (season to your family’s taste). After wringing out the spinach I slice it thinly and add it to the cream cheese mixture along with about half a cup of grated or crumbled cheese and a bit more seasoning. This time I used a combination of parmesan and sharp cheddar because that’s what I had on hand, but queso fresco or your favorite firmer cheese will work. Then I just pop the dip in the oven at 400 degrees to heat through and serve with some blue corn tortilla chips. You can put the chips pointy-side up to resemble shark fins and then serve with more on the side.
I’ve got another no-cook snack here for you! For these adorable “Sharkillas” (see what I did right there?) you literally just need some flour tortillas and cheese. I cut our fish shapes out freehand with a sharp knife, but if you happen to have a fish- or shark-shaped cookie cutter that would make it even easier. Once your tortilla and cheese pieces are cut out, just make a few stacks, alternating tortilla and cheese with each layer. You could even sprinkle these with some chili powder or adobo and grill them and turn them into lunch. This week, we had them with some cucumber and kiwi sea turtles because my kids thought the cucumbers would be perfect as little turtles. Tip: Cut out one tortilla fish shape and use it as a template for the rest of the tortillas and the cheese so everything stacks neatly.
Baby Shark Shaped Dulce De Leche & Banana Sammies
You can totally use store-bought dulce de leche or cajeta to make these indulgent little sandwiches, but if you don’t have any on hand, it’s pretty easy to make at home with just a can of condensed milk, which is what my own mom used to do. Just remove the label from the can and place it in a deep pot covered with water to about two inches above the can, bring the water to a simmer over high heat, then reduce heat and allow it to simmer for about two hours. Check it every once in a while to make sure the water isn’t evaporating too much.
After a couple of hours, remove the can and let it cool completely before opening. At this point you’ll have a spreadable dulce de leche. Using a knife or cookie cutter cut several slices of bread into fish or shark shapes, spread the dulce de leche onto two pieces of the shark-shaped bread, put some slices of fresh banana on one side and then sandwich them together (repeat for however many sammies you want to make). We added some unsweetened flaked coconut to our blender with a few drops of natural blue food dye to create an edible “water” garnish for our sharks to swim in, which of course also tastes amazing with the dulce de leche. My kids thought these totally resembled Baby Shark!
Arroz con Leche Shark Bowls
For a fun dessert we whipped up a classic arroz con dulce and added a bit of blue and green food dye to it once it was finished cooking, then after spooning some into a bowl, we used a shark stencil we cut out of plain white paper to apply some cinnamon in a shark shape then used frozen blueberries below the shark to represent the sea and some of our leftover coconut above the shark to represent the sky.
Tropical Shark Fin Yogurt Parfaits
These look a lot more complicated to make than they actually are. I had my kids crunch up a couple of graham crackers and we used store-bought blueberry and coconut Greek yogurts. All you have to do is put a layer of graham cracker “sand” in the bottom of a clear cup or glass, then add your choice of yogurt, a layer of fruit (we used frozen blueberries for the color but mango or pineapple would also be delicious) and another layer of yogurt. At the top cover half of the yogurt with more crushed graham crackers to look like sand and the other half with blueberries to look like water. Then carve a shark fin shape out of an apple slice and plop it in the middle. Honestly, this one’s even a great option for a no-cook breakfast. Tip: Add a little natural blue food dye to get a deeper shade of blue from your yogurt.
It would be super-fun to sing some of the brand-new songs from Baby Shark’s Big Show! like the inspiring “Fish Friends Forever,” while you whip these up together.
There you have it! Five simple and mostly no-cook Baby Shark-themed snacks full of Latino flavors to make with and for your kids that will actually get them excited about eating. Be sure to check out the new Baby Shark’s Big Show! series on Nickelodeon on Friday, March 26 at 12:30/11:30c for more awesome inspo for your kids’ snacktime. Check out the trailer below to get as excited as me and my kids are! Be sure to tune in on Fridays at 12:30/11:30c on Nickelodeon!