Cooking with the Kids: Fun, Tasty, Healthy

Getting children involved in their meals can help develop healthy eating habits for a lifetime. And it's fun, too.

Making your own food is an excellent way to develop healthy eating habits while enjoying extra tasty dishes. It's never too early to get those good habits going. Getting the younger members of the family involved can help turn a daily chore into a shared experience.

Children are often naturally curious about what's happening on the kitchen counters. Why not put that curiosity to good use? Getting to say “I made this!” is a source of pride that can add extra enjoyment to your kids' meals.

Something for every age

To make the experience safe and enjoyable for everyone, adjust the tasks according to age and abilities:

  • Decorate and enhance: Even a two- or three-year-old will be happy to put sprinkles on homemade cookies or fresh berries on top of plain yogurt or ice cream.
  • Stir and mix: Young children always enjoy the transformation that results from whipping eggs and milk into an omelette, or mixing up dry and wet ingredients for a batch of homemade muffins.
  • Cut to size: Grating cheese or cutting vegetables requires teaching safe methods, but will reward older children with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Get cooking: Once your children can work their way around a stove, they'll like making pancakes or baking pizza with their own choice of toppings.

Of course, making food with children will require more supervision than doing it by yourself. Choose the right tasks to share so that cooking remains an enjoyable learning experience for everyone. Relax and try to keep things fun. A little bit more mess is worth the long-term pleasure cooking can bring. If your kids really get into it, who knows, they might just cook a whole meal for you, one day.

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