Do your kids want to join in on making meals and snacks? Does the idea of a messy kitchen or failed recipe seem daunting? Whether young or old, here are three tricks that can make it easy to include kids in the cooking process – plus a bonus tip you won’t want to miss!
Let them help pick out the produce.
Kids who help choose which fruits and vegetables to buy are more likely to enjoy eating these foods. They may also be more open to trying them for the first time. For a fun outdoor adventure, bring your child to the farmers market and explain the tasty benefits of fresh, local produce. Plus, if you have SNAP/EBT, you can get double the produce for the same price at participating farmers markets. See if your kids can find fruits and veggies in every color of the rainbow!
Try recipes with room for creativity.
Choose recipes that allow your child to get creative and make simple decisions. For example, what fruit will they choose for these Fruit Kabobs? How many blueberry eyes will they give their Food Group Funny Face? Which colorful veggies will they add to a Home Run Hummus Wrap, and will they cut them in cubes or slices? Letting your child choose from two to three options can get them excited to taste healthy foods, and it may boost their confidence in the kitchen.
Choose child-friendly tasks.
Check out this blog post for what tasks to share with your kids based on their age. Certain tasks are better suited for older kids, such as safely using the oven or stove. Younger children and toddlers can help measure, stir, and assemble. Choosing age-appropriate tasks will keep your child confident and engaged in the cooking process.
Bonus tip – embrace the potential mess and let them help clean up!
Like any activity, kids learn that all messes in the kitchen must be cleaned up after cooking. Invite them to help wipe counters, rinse plates and spoons, or put dishes in the dishwasher. Explain that if they help you clean up, they can join you in the kitchen more often. Many hands make light work!
How will you involve your child the next time you make a meal or snack?
By Elizabeth Uliana