Parents ask me all of the time, “how do I get my picky eater to eat her veggies?”  To get started, involve her in a hands-on recipe that’s fun and doesn’t include veggies!  This Soft Pretzel recipe in my Appetite for Life book was recently made by the Seedlings, ages 3-5 at the Barn.  When served freshly baked with grapes to snack on, the pickiest eater was requesting thirds!”

Soft pretzels come in all shapes and sizes by little hands!

Making pretzels at home is a fun activity for the whole family.  We added whole wheat flour to the mix to increase our intake of whole grains.  The longer they cool the crunchier the pretzels become or you can enjoy them warm and soft, straight from the oven.  For a sweet variation, skip the optional sea salt topping and mix up a light dip with ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ cup agave nectar, then dunk away!


½ cup + 1 tablespoon water

1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

½ teaspoon honey

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sea salt + additional for sprinkling

1 large egg white


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 2 large baking sheets.
  2. Heat 1/2 cup water to 105°-115°F. In medium bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and honey; stir until yeast dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. With wooden spoon, stir in flours and 1 teaspoon salt to make a soft dough.
  4. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead 1-2 minutes or until smooth, (it should look a little dry when it’s ready).
  5. Rolling out the dough is great for kids of all ages.

    Divide dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a rope 10-12 inches long. Twist each rope into a loop-shaped pretzel; press ends lightly to seal. Place pretzels on prepared baking sheets.

  6. In small bowl, whisk egg white and remaining 1 tablespoon water; use egg wash to brush pretzels. If you like, lightly sprinkle salt over egg wash coating on pretzels.
  7. Easy hands-on activity for play dates.

    Bake pretzels 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 10 servings (1 pretzel per serving).

Nutrition Facts per serving: 70 calories; 0g fat; 0mg cholesterol; 14g carbohydrate (2g fiber, 0g sugar); 3g protein; 60mg sodium; 8% Daily Value (DV) iron.

What’s your favorite hands-on recipe to do with your kids?

– Stacey Antine, MS RD, author, Appetite for Life and founder, HealthBarn USA

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