What easy meals & fun snacks can I give to the children I”m babysitting?

Preparing meals can be quite a task while babysitting.  Getting kids involved in making simple healthy meals and snacks can be fun!  Always ask the parents which kitchen appliances you are allowed to use and which ones are off limits.  It is best to limit the use of kitchen appliances while babysitting.  You can use the microwave to heat up already prepared dishes.  The toaster oven is another option if you feel comfortable and the parents allow you to use it.  Here are some ideas for easy meals and fun snacks:

#1 Make your own pizza

Who doesn’t like to make their own pizza?  Be sure to cut up all the ingredients first and have the kids ensemble their own.  If you don’t have small pizza crusts, you can use hamburger buns or pita bread.  Here are some pizza topping ideas you can use:

  • Ham
  • Olives
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Peppers
  • Sausages
  • Bacon bits
  • Pepperoni
  • Mushrooms
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Sundried tomatoes

#2 Veggie Tacos

This is also something children love to ensemble themselves.  Get all the ingredients ready ahead of time and let the children have fun putting it together.  You will need the following:

  • Salsa
  • Peppers
  • Sour cream
  • Black beans
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Shredded cheese
  • Soft or hard taco shells

#3 Sandwich

A sandwich can be a very simple meal for a babysitter to prepare.  For children under three,  they may not be able to bite and chew properly.  You can cut small pieces of the sandwich so it’s easier for them.  Be sure to offer them a drink so they have enough moisture in their mouth to be able to chew and swallow properly to avoid choking.  For more tips on choking prevention, take a Babysitting course.

Here are a few simple sandwich ideas:

  • Ham and cheese – this classic is simple and easy to make.  You can even add pickles in the sandwich or on the side. 
  • BLT (bacon, lettuce & tomato) – Bacon is a choking hazard for younger children, so be sure to cut the bacon in small pieces or omit it altogether
  • Hummus Roll Ups – this can be fun to do and is quite tasty. Spread a thin layer of hummus on a flour tortilla.  Roll up and slice into spirals.  You can even add shredded cheese or lettuce.  Children will love eating these.  
  • Jam sandwich– this simple classic is always a hit with kids.  You can serve it with cheese or some milk for protein.
  • Grilled cheese sandwich with spinach– for some extra iron, add spinach to this popular sandwich.
  • Chicken sandwich– if the parents have some chicken slices or leftover chicken, this could be a good option.  Depending on the age of the child, just be sure to cut the chicken in small pieces.  You can add mayo or mustard.

Ideally the easiest meals that babysitters can make are meals that do not require cooking or just need to be warmed up.  For example, leftovers, or ready-made meals that can simply be put in the microwave.   Be sure to ask the parents if you are allowed to use the microwave.  Never use foil, metal utensils or plastic bowls in the microwave.  Be sure to use microwave-safe dishes and always use oven mitts while removing hot dishes.

Deep fryers can be very dangerous and should never be used while babysitting.

Avoid using sharp knives and always keep children safe while preparing meals.

Eating snacks between meals is very important for younger children.  Children have small stomachs and they cannot eat much food at a time, so feeding them snacks between meals is one way to prevent poisoning. If children are hungry, they will search for food and sometimes put something in their mouth that they should not eat.  Always feed children snacks between meals and feed them on time. 

Here are some ideas for fun snacks:

  • Watermelon, using a cookie cutter, cut the watermelon into small fun shapes.  This will be extra special for the kids.
  • Red apples with nut butter.  You can use a variety of nut butters such as almond, walnut, sesame and of course peanut butter!  Just be sure the children do not have any nut allergies.  If you are babysitting for a family that has a child with a nut allergy, you should never serve any of the children food that contain nuts or “may contain” nuts either.
  • Hummus & Crackers, this is a great nutritious snack which includes protein and can be very satiating. 
  • Ants on a log, this is a real hit with kids! Spread some cream cheese, peanut butter or another spread on some celery or bananas, then place some raisins on top. Kids love putting these together.  The more they participate in preparing the snack, the more likely they are to eat it.
  • Pretzels dipped in dark chocolate chips, this could be considered a special treat.  You can melt some chocolate chips in the microwave and prepare a plate with pretzels and a small bowl for kids to dip their pretzels in.
  • Green apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon. For this fun snack you can even pour some maple syrup or lemon juice over the apples.
  • Corn chips and salsa, this is a really quick and easy snack that most kids love.  Consider serving with some shredded cheese.

Be sure to clean up everything and do the dishes when you’re done. 

To learn more about becoming a responsible babysitter, consider taking a Babysitting Course.