Bring Out the Inner Chef in Your Child
A study of 10-year-old children across 151 schools in Alberta, Canada, found that children who most frequently helped prepare meals at home reported liking fruits and vegetables more and had a greater desire to select and eat healthy foods at home and in school than children who cooked at home less frequently.1 According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, cooking at home with kids can increase their understanding of nutrition, food safety, math, science, literacy, and fine motor skills. Kids can start helping in the kitchen as young as two years old. Check out these recommendations for age- appropriate kitchen tasks for kids.2,3
- Practice washing hands.
- Rinse fruits and vegetables with cool tap water.
- Wipe tables and countertops.
- Mix ingredients like batters.
- Brush cooking oil using a pastry brush on bread or vegetables before an adult puts them in the oven.
- Tear lettuce or other greens for salads.
- Break cauliflower or broccoli into small pieces for roasting or steaming.
- Help knead and shape bread dough.
- Cut cookies with cookie cutters.
- Peel raw, washed fruits and vegetables.
- Break eggs into a bowl.
- Scoop out avocados after sliced in half by an adult.
- Snap green beans.
- Load the dishwasher.
- Shuck corn and rinse before cooking.
- Rinse cut fresh herbs or green onions, then cut with blunt kitchen scissors.
- Open cans with a can opener.
- Pound chicken on a cutting board.
- Beat eggs.
- Check the temperature of meat with a food thermometer.
- Juice a lemon or orange.
- Boil pasta.
- Microwave foods.
- Follow a recipe, including reading each step and measuring ingredients.
- Use the oven to bake foods.
- Simmer ingredients on the stove.
- Slice or chop vegetables.
1. Chu YL, Farmer A, Fung C, et al. Involvement in home meal preparation is associated with food preference and self-efficacy among Canadian children. Public Health Nutr. 2013 Jan;16(1):108–112.
2. National Institutes of Health. Getting kids in the kitchen. Available at: https://www. nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/downloads/cookwithchildren.pdf. Accessed 3 June 2019.
3. Klemm, S. Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Teaching kids to cook. 16 April 2019. https://www.eatright.org/homefoo
Healthy Summer Snacks to Make with Kids
5-INGREDIENT PB&J THUMBPRINT COOKIES
- 1/2 cup natural creamy salted peanut butter or nut/seed butter of choice
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1/2 cup almond flour (or half this amount in coconut flour, plus more as needed)
- 1 cup dried, unsweetened fruit, such as dried blueberries and/or cherries
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- Add peanut butter to a medium mixing bowl. The peanut butter should be runny when measured. Aim to use natural peanut butter, meaning the ingredients should just be peanuts and salt.
- Measure out almond flour and add a little at a time until a workable dough forms. If the dough is too dry/crumbly, add more peanut butter. If too sticky or wet, add a little more almond flour.
- Scoop dough out in 1 1/2 tablespoon amounts and gently roll into balls (this step is easy and fun for a child). Then pick up one cookie at a time and cradle it in your palm. Use your pointer finger or thumb to make an indent, being careful not to press too forcefully to prevent cracking. If the dough cracks, smooth the cracks over before chilling. Continue until all cookies are pressed, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill.
- To make your filling, add dried fruit to a food processor and blend until a ball forms or only small bits remain. Then add warm water one tablespoon (15ml) at a time until a thick paste forms, scraping down sides as needed. Be careful not to add too much water or the jam will become too wet. You’re looking for a paste consistency.
- Remove cookies from refrigerator and have kids add 1/2 teaspoon of filling to the center of each cookie. Press down to situate the jam as needed. Repeat until all cookies are filled.
- Store cookies well sealed in the refrigerator for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to one month (let thaw before enjoying).
Nutrition (1 cookie): Calories: 150; Carbs: 15g; Fat: 10g; Protein: 5g; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 6g; Saturated fat: 1g
Adapted from: Adapted from: Shultz D. Minimalist Baker. 5-Ingredient
No-Bake Peanut Butter Thumbprints. https://minimalistbaker.com/5-
ingredient-no-bake-peanut-butter-thumbprints/. Accessed 3 Jun 2019.
NHR BERRIES AND CREAM POPSICLES
- 1 1/2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups frozen mixed berries
- 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
1. Mix yogurt, maple syrup, and vanilla together; place in the fridge.
2. Puree berries and coconut milk in a blender until smooth. 3. Remove yogurt mixture from the fridge. Alternate
spooning in yogurt mixture and berry mix in ice pop
molds. This is the perfect step for the kids to do.
4. Freeze for 1 to 2 hours, then add the sticks and continue
freezing until sold.
Nutrition (1 popsicle): Calories: 88; Fat: 5g; Saturated fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 16mg; Fiber: 1.5g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 5g
Adapted from: Dueck M. Real Housemoms. 7 Jul 2017. Available at: https://realhousemoms.com/berries-cream-popsicles/. Accessed 3 Jun 2019. NHR