“Board” with Dinner? Try a Kid-Friendly Cheese Board!

At this point, it’s quite possible you’ve run out of activities and meal ideas. You aren’t alone! Want to hear a trick that combines both an activity and a meal?

Try a cheese board!

Cheese boards are not only a tasty arts-and-crafts project, but a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen. When kids help make the meal, they take pride over their creation and are more likely to try new things. 

I love cheese boards. They’re a feast for the eyes, and you look like a rockstar with little to no effort. All you need are a few varieties of foods, assemble them on a plate or board, and voila! 5-Star dining!

Typically, I’ll throw one together after my kids are asleep (because let’s be honest, I’m pairing it with a bottle of wine) or for parties (sometimes purchasing the board as the hostess gift and leaving it behind). Because of this, my kids have never seen me make one, so I gave it a test run using this Fisher-Price cheese board set to see if it sparked their interest. They were hooked! 

When choosing what to use, take into consideration what foods your children already like. This way there’s always something familiar for them to get initially excited about. Staples like Goldfish crackers are usually a hit, and pretzel rods would be perfect for dipping.

Typically, boards can include cheese, meat, crackers, fruit, vegetables, jams, dips and nuts, but you can use whatever you want. That’s the beauty of it! You can go with a simple selection of pre-cut cheeses, which can be bought any at local grocery store, or a variety pack like the one I’ve found at Costco that includes goat, sheep, and cows milk cheeses.

Using a variety turns it into a science lesson or a fun guessing game/cheese tasting and a discussion comparing the different flavors. My favorite local place for cheese plates is Luna. They have an endless variety of cheese and all the knowledge. They’re still offering these great cheeses “to go,” which I highly recommend. Just because we can’t travel right now doesn’t mean our tastebuds can’t take an adventure to a Swiss cave for some aged gruyére. 

Milk Made is another favorite local cheesemonger who’s doing “cheese boards to go.” They also just offered a “Virtual Juice and Cheese Tasting” for kids which I find absolutely adorable and may be a solid option if you’re feeling a bit intimated about doing this yourself.

Try not to get caught up in the details though; it’s not about perfection, it’s about the process. For example, I used pre-sliced pepperoni and I sliced the vegetables ahead of time, but if your kids are old enough they can take part in the preparations. I put out tons of options, most of which we already had in the house, and let them choose what excited them the most. This was important because they got to dictate what went on the board.

Once they made their selections, I put the rest away and let them do their thing. They snacked along the way, as any good cheese board maker does. I offered suggestions here and there, but as you can tell this was all them. They made some questionable choices like dipping orange peppers in apple jam and sprinkling peanuts on top, but who am I to judge? They tried several new foods, got plenty of fruits and veggies, and had fun! It’s an all around win! 

Just make sure they wash their hands. 😉

Have you done cheese boards with your kids? What options have you put on it?

  

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Katina grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and played field hockey at the University of Connecticut, and has never been in as good of shape since. She met her husband, Justin, at a bar in Pittsburgh and, despite many romantic Skype dates, found a long-distance relationship to be a drag and moved to Fargo in 2010. She's a bonus mom to Justin's son, Owen (2005), and they have twins Augie and Delphi (2016) and two Great Danes, Rainy and Moose. She's a Speech-Language Pathologist and Certified Brain Injury Specialist who enjoys helping her patients improve their quality of life. She loves showing the world to her kids (but also seeing the world through their eyes), trying new foods, listening to live music and publicly mocking her little brother on Instagram. On most weekends, you can find her at one of her kids' many activities by day, and by night on the couch in sweats, eating a homemade charcuterie board and drinking expensive wine someone else bought. She still has Skype dates, but now they're with friends and family who live all over the place.

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