From a Dietitian’s Kitchen: Cooking with Kids

Helping your children grow into healthy adults takes time and effort.  A child who learns to prepare and enjoy healthy foods will benefit their whole life!  Here are some tips to getting the whole family involved in preparing and enjoying healthy food.

1. Plan meals and grocery shop together– Picking a recipe that your children are excited about will make the whole process more exciting.  Trips to the grocery store can be an opportunity for kids to see new fruits and vegetables.  Let them pick a new one to try.

2. Assign everyone with an age-appropriate task–  Younger children can wash and tear lettuce leaves while older children can measure ingredients and cut soft foods with a dull table knife.  Make sure you review safety rules regarding the stove, oven, knives and other appliances. 

3. Teen chefs– If you have teenagers assign them one night a week to be responsible for dinner.  Have them practice picking a menu, checking to see what groceries are needed and then preparing it!  Be available to help but let them learn by doing!

4. Patience and practice make progress– Set aside more time to cook if children are helping.  They will need help and they will make messes.  Also don’t forget to slip in some practice with counting, measuring and fractions.  Cooking can be a great math lesson!

5. Critics corner– Not every recipe will be a hit with the whole family and that is okay.  It often takes many tries before someone likes something new.  Encourage everyone to try a few bites and rate the meal on a scale of 1 to 10.  Keeping the experience a positive one is the most important thing!

Happy Cooking! mk