Let’s Eat Together…Sweet Potatoes!

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This week, the First Bites program celebrated sweet potatoes and classes made a Black Bean Sweet Potato Dip. Read more for the quick and easy recipe.  A great way to encourage your children to try new foods is to eat dinner together. You can all eat the same food and serve it family style by putting a bowl in the center of the table and letting everyone help themselves (after some practice, even your two-year old will insist on helping himself!). This way, you are role modeling good eating behavior, like trying new food and serving yourself enough to satisfy your hunger, and chat about the day (studies indicate that dinner conversation builds a child’s vocabulary). Regular family meals also lower obesity and eating disorder rates. For more ideas on how to get young children involved in meal time, read on. And follow us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/YourFirstBites to learn more. 

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First Bites: Black Bean Sweet Potato Dip 

These can be served as a dip, with raw vegetables or pita chips, or as a filling for a burrito. 


  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes (about 1 cup of cooked sweet potato) 
  • 3/4 cup canned black beans, drained (1/2 can of black beans)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lime juice (juice from about half a lime) OR use store-bought lime juice
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (2% yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetables for serving, like cucumber, and whole grain pita chips or tortilla chips


  1. Wash hands and clean the produce and workspace.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes and pierce the skin all over with a fork. Put them on a microwave safe plate and microwave them for 4 minutes, until they are soft. If they aren’t soft to the touch, microwave again for another 1-2 minutes. Once they are soft, cut them open and let them cool. Note: they will be very hot to the touch. 
  3. Open the can of black beans and drain the black bean liquid from the can before measuring them. Add the beans to the blender. 
  4. Juice the lime, measure it and pour it into the blender (OR add the store-bought lime juice).
  5. Measure the yogurt and add it to the blender.  
  6. Add the olive oil, cumin, and salt to the blender and blend well. 
  7. Once slightly cooled, use a spoon to scoop out the sweet potato flesh and add it to the blender. Blend well; you may need to scrape the mixture down and blend again. 
  8. Serve immediately with cut vegetables, such as cucumber, or whole grain pita chips or tortilla chips. This is also a great filling for tortillas. 

Hands on Learning for Children

  • Washing the vegetables
  • Juicing the lime (unless using store-bought)
  • Opening the can of black beans, pouring it into the blender 
  • Measuring the cumin, yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, black beans and salt and adding to the blender
  • Using a spatula or spoon to transfer the mixture from the blender to a bowl
  • Arranging the cut vegetables on plates with the dip

Getting Children Involved in Mealtime

Eating dinner as a family can be tough – in some cases, just getting dinner on the table can be tough! Here are some ways to get your children involved in meal-time preparation, which will make them more excited about eating and help you get dinner ready! 

  • Make family dinner placemats – encourage children to decorate a large piece of paper and make their own placemats to make family meals more fun. Get them laminated at Kinko’s. 
  • Give each child a job – like putting down the placemats, cups, plates, utensils, napkins – to help set the table.  Children can share jobs or rotate days/weeks when they are in charge of setting the table.  This is a good way to get children involved and invested in meal time and make it a shared experience. 
  • Let children fold the napkins - Teach children how to make the table special by folding napkins and placing them in cups in 4 easy steps. (see picture for instructions)
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  1. Step 1: Place a paper napkin on the table and open it up.
  2. Step 2: Pull up from the center of the napkin. 
  3. Step 3: Flip the napkin over.
  4. Step 4: Place the napkin in a cup. 



To learn more about First Bites or with questions or comments, you can contact Caron@firstbites.org. Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/YourFirstBites) for more recipes, tips and eating philosophy information.