Updated: May 4
Running out of things to do with the kids? Whether your littles are home temporarily, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, or it's simply time for summer vacation, it’s easy to run through the list of fun things to do. If you're left wondering what’s next, there is always something for kids to learn in the kitchen.
Building simple cooking skills early (like Susie) often means kids are able to do more on their own at a younger age. Many students report having little to no cooking skills by the time they go to college, leaving them to rely on processed snacks and unhealthy take-out options. These are basic life skills that all independent adults need to learn. Children who develop cooking and food prep skills early on build healthy habits that carry them through life.
Got a picky eater? Studies show that kids who are part of the meal planning and cooking process are more likely to try new things. If a child invests time in cooking, they will be more curious about trying the end product. More on that in this New York Times article.
What should we make?
Pick a variety of recipes with healthy ingredients, like the ones below, to model good behaviors. As a kid, my mom taught me how to measure and bake. We often experimented with new recipes, and she gave me the freedom to make some up on my own. I am an intuitive cook now because of what I learned then (Thanks Mom!). Although I tend to burn baked goods, at least I know the rest!
Depending on the age and current skill level of your child, use your discretion on appropriate tasks and tools, and always supervise. If you're just starting out, be sure to teach your child the basics of cutting, measuring and being mindful of food safety. This short video can help!
Now you're ready to get started! Here are a 5 easy recipes to get your kids in the kitchen.
Let your child measure the cocoa powder, or for advanced students, cut and pit the avocado. No matter the age, your child will love watching it blend in the food processor, but not as much as eating the final product!
Young chefs can help wash the strawberries, and advanced kids can cut and blend! Makes a great mid-afternoon project and snack.
by Bracha at Beekay Nutrition
Chickpeas are loaded with fiber and protein. Alone, they're a little boring, but adding just the right spices kicks it up a notch! Try this spice combo, or experiment with creations of your own.
by Chrissy at Dairy Free For Baby
The sky is the limit on this recipe. Have your child choose the variety of seeds and additives that you use. Children can watch it bake through the oven door and provides a brief moment of peace for you!
by Bracha at Beekay Nutrition
Looks like dessert plus the added fiber and nutrients of chickpeas. Kids will have a blast rinsing the beans and eating the result! Don't forget to teach your littles how to clean up the mess.
Whatever skills you decide to teach your kids, keep it consistent! Most of these recipes take very little time, so take even a few minutes each week to work on improving culinary skills. Not only will you build your child's independence, you boost confidence and self-esteem. You might even earn a few minutes to yourself!
Got an hour? Schedule a virtual nutrition counseling session!