Pear Quesadillas and Tips to Make Meal Time at Home Fun (yes, it is possible!)

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Pear Quesadillas and Tips to Make Meal Time at Home Fun (yes, it is possible!)

This week we continued the First Bites program, which aims to make children more independent and confident at meal time and more comfortable eating fruits and vegetables. The children made Pear Quesadillas to help celebrate Tu B’Shvat. Children love eating quesadillas and here we’ve added a mild fruit, sliced pear, which pairs well with cheese, and makes for a yummy snack or meal!

For more ideas on how to get young children involved in meal time, read on. And follow us on Facebook – to learn more.

First Bites: Pear Quesadillas

Ingredients (This recipe makes 2 quesadillas)

2 six inch whole wheat tortillas (if you can’t find six inch, don’t worry. Just use more or less of the pear and cheese)

4 oz. or ½ cup of Cheddar cheese (you can use sliced or pre-shredded or grated cheese, too)

1 pear, thinly sliced (all varieties will work, as long as the pear is ripe)

If you want to make more quesadillas, just increase the ingredients.


1.       Wash hands and clean the workspace and produce.

2.       Take a tortilla, lay it flat on a plate, and lay on slices of cheddar cheese (or a small handful of grated cheese) on half of the tortilla.

3.       Thinly slice the pear. Layer several thin slices of pear on top of the cheese on the tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half.

4.       You can either microwave for 30 seconds or fry, in a little butter, on the stove until each side is lightly browned. Let cool. Slice in half and serve.

Hands on Learning for Children

·         Slicing the cheese (better for older children or with an adult)

·         Putting the cheese on the tortilla

·         Slicing the pears (better for older children or with an adult)

·         Placing the sliced pears on top of the cheese

·         Folding the tortillas in half

{C}·         Pushing :30 seconds on the microwave

Just a reminder - the First Bites program is about giving children the opportunity to feel, smell, look at and cook with fruits and vegetables. The children may not eat it, they may not like it. It can take 15-20 tries for a child to "like" a new food. This is about giving children a chance to experience fruits and vegetables in a new way, other than just being served them, and to have fun with them.      

Tips on Creating a Fun and Relaxed Meal Time for Your Family

Research indicates that children are more likely to try new food if they feel like they are in safe environment. Three tips to keep meals fun and safe:

-          Empower children to feel in control at meal time. Let children serve themselves. If you are offering something new, remind them that they can take a small bite so try it and always take more.  Use fun plates and bowls for new foods. Incorporate a family tradition into meal time, like counting the number of colors served in the meal, or talking about the highlight of the day.  Don’t reward children for eating vegetables with dessert.

-          Never force a child to take a bite or “finish their plate.” Trust their own internal hunger cues and teach them to listen to their hunger cues. If they say they are done, listen.

-          Create and enforce basic table manners. Remind children to say “please” and “thank you” when asking for food or passing it. Challenge them to come up with other words to describe what they are eating – salty? Mushy? Slimy? The only word that is off limits is “yucky.” If children don’t like something, remind them to keep it to themselves and don’t force them to eat it.


Here are two articles on feeding children that may be of interest.

The first offers up ten specific suggestions and tips for encouraging children to eat healthy, whole foods. For those of you with children in the Gan First Bites program, these tips mirror what we teach and discuss in the program. For everyone, these are easy things that you can do at home. (link:

Also, here is an article in the Huffington Post, by Caron Gremont, First Bites Founder, on how to host a child's birthday party without all the junk. (link: