One great way to work healthier foods into your little one’s diet is by letting him dip those nutritious snacks in goopy, delicious cheese. It’s a fun, yummy way to help your tot learn to love veggies that he might otherwise refuse. After all, in his eyes, broccoli stalks are way too similar to actual trees, and who would want to eat that? With the right recipe, you can avoid using fatty, synthetic dipping cheeses that may be great at a tailgating party but not in your toddler’s tummy.
Cheddar cheese is pretty common in children’s foods. It’s not too salty, and a mild cheddar doesn’t have much bite. This recipe is perfect for dipping and adds the right touch of cheese to just about anything. Start with 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 1 teaspoon prepared mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. All you have to do is melt the butter and flour in a small saucepan on medium-low heat, then add the salt. After the butter has melted, slowly pour in the milk. After it begins to thicken, add the cheese and mustard. Stir until the mixture is smooth, then remove from the heat. This sauce would be perfect with those dark greens that many younger children reject. Think broccoli or maybe sugar snap peas.
Nacho Cheese Sauce
No one can resist the true flavor of nacho cheese. It is a little tangy and has more bite than some cheese dips and sauces, but kids love it. Kids often surprise you with what they are willing to try and what they end up liking. Start with 4 ounces of shredded pepper jack cheese, 4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 12 ounces of evaporated milk and one pinch of salt. Begin by stirring together the cheese and the cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the two are combined, add the evaporated milk and salt. Stir and heat for a few minutes until the mixture thickens. This more bold sauce would be ideal for disguising the challenging flavors of veggies like cauliflower.
This recipe is for the adventurous mom. It’s a little more complicated and takes a few extra ingredients, but it’s guaranteed to be a big hit. You need 1/2 pound of shredded Swiss cheese, 1/2 pound of shredded Gruyere cheese, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, one peeled garlic clove, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard and one pinch of nutmeg. Combine the cheeses with cornstarch in a large bowl and set it aside. Add the lemon juice to a medium saucepan on medium-low heat. Slowly add the cheese so that it melts evenly. Once the cheese has melted, add the mustard and nutmeg. Allow the mixture to cool before serving. This fondue sauce plays nicely with just about anything, including chunks of dark bread and carrots.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese
For a treat loaded with vitamin A, try a pumpkin cheese dip. All you need is 4 cups of powdered sugar, 16 ounces of cream cheese, one 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie filling, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of ginger. Simply combine the sugar and cream cheese until it is softened together. Beat in the remaining ingredients until the mixture is smooth. Pumpkin cream cheese dip is great with fruit, particularly raw apple slices. Your children will not be able to resist this dip, plus you might be able to whip some up for that office holiday party to impress your coworkers.