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Veggies and Kids – Mr Baked Potato Heads

A great way for kids to have fun with, and be interested in learning about veggies.
By Kelsey Hilts

Get kids to eat veggies

I had the opportunity to do a cooking project in my son’s preschool class for “Nutrition Week” at the beginning of December. We read Annabel Karmel’s I Can Eat a Rainbow, made rainbow smoothies using fruits and veggies of every color of the rainbow, and created Mr. {Baked} Potato Heads. After having brainstormed this edible art project for a while (inspired by our beloved Mr. Potato Head) I was excited to finally see the food art come to life. It was fun to watch the preschoolers play with healthy food, learn about some new vegetables, and ultimately see what they created.

I presented a smorgasbord of veggies, cut in different ways, down the center of each table and every child was given half of a baked potato. (Yams and sweet potatoes are also colorful and nutritious options.) After presenting a Mr. Potato Head toy sporting his muscle arms {he got his muscle arms by eating veggies and other healthy foods, of course!) the kids went to town with their creations. Some of the preschoolers simply started eating their favorite veggies; some spent time asking about the veggies they didn’t recognize; and some went right into sticking veggies into the potatoes. (And I have to admit that I had fun making a few samples.)

You can do this project with one child or with a large group and it can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. It was a great hands-on cooking project for the 3 and 4-year olds and a fun way to play with healthy foods. It would also suit older kids and I suppose the creations would just get more elaborate as the kids got older. The kids love to be part of the brainstorming process, too, thinking about which veggies would work and the older kids can help custom cut their veggies into specific shapes.

If you want additional condiments for eating the baked potatoes and veggies, you can serve ranch dressing, sour cream, salsa, chili, butter, etc.

*Toothpicks can help hold the veggies in place, especially if you are using a whole potato. For the preschoolers, we opted not to use toothpicks to avoid any poking danger. When working with half of a potato, the kids were able to easily stick the veggies directly into the white flesh of the baked potato or simply arrange the veggies on top.

Veggies and Kids – Mr Baked Potato Heads
 
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Dress up your baked potato with an assortment of veggies to make an edible Mr. Baked Potato Head.
Author:
Recipe Type: Vegetables
Serves: 1+
Ingredients
  • Baked Potatoes (and/or sweet potatoes and yams)
  • Toothpicks, optional (depending on age of kids)
Assortment of veggies:
  • Carrot sticks
  • Carrot slices
  • Shredded carrot
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Bell peppers, sliced or cut in chunks
  • Mini bell peppers
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Snap peas
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Edamame
  • Green peas
  • Baby corn
  • Whole olives
  • Sliced olives
  • Broccoli
  • Black, pinto, garbanzo or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Shredded cheese
  • Spinach leaves, etc.
Additional condiments for eating:
  • Salsa
  • Chili
  • Sour cream
  • Butter
  • Ranch dressing
Instructions
  1. Wrap the potatoes individually with foil (for softer skin) or leave them unwrapped for slightly crisper skin.
  2. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake them at 400-425 degrees for 45 minutes – 1hour, until they are fork tender.
  3. Remove them from the oven and let them cool.
  4. (If transporting them to serve for a group, place the wrapped potatoes directly from the oven into a large pot and cover the pot with a lid to keep the potatoes warm.)
  5. Once cool enough to handle but ideally still warm for eating, decorate the potatoes like Mr. Potato Heads using the veggies (and toothpicks when necessary).
  6. For small kids and large groups you can cut the potatoes in half and decorate either side of the potato. (In my son’s preschool class I cut the potatoes in half and it was easy for the 3 and 4-year olds to decorate the soft white inside without having to use toothpicks.)
  7. Or, you can decorate whole potatoes and even use the top slice of a bell pepper with the stem (or another alternative) as the feet stand.
Kelsey Hilts

Kelsey Hilts

Kelsey Hilts is the founder of Itsy Bitsy Foodies, an online resource for families looking for ways to spend more time together enjoying food and exploring the world beyond the children’s menu.

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Originally Published: January 21, 2013

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