Wondering how to make this Mother’s Day a special one? The answer is right in your kitchen! Enlist kiddos of all ages to join you in making one or more of our kid-friendly recipes, featured in our new Mommy & Me cooking series. Each episode is hosted by an expert registered dietitian nutritionist, alongside their little sous chefs. With a menu of recipes that includes peanut butter peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough dip, s’mores chillers, Greek yogurt toast and pizza pasta bake, you will be covered in having delicious options to satisfy all palates.
WHY ENGAGE KIDS IN COOKING?
We love the idea of cooking with kids on special occasions, but we also encourage you to build it into your weekly culinary routine for many reasons. So why should you engage kids in cooking?
- Teaches them valuable life skills and safe food handling practices from a young age
- Provides an opportunity to connect healthy foods with a healthy body
- Promotes creativity
- Boosts self-esteem and confidence
- Uses everyday math and reading skills
- Strengthens caregiver-parent bond and fosters communication
- Results in a sense of accomplishment and pride, which leads to them being more receptive to trying new and unfamiliar foods and flavors
Now that you are inspired to give it a try, here are tips to make kitchen time with kids a delicious, rewarding, and fun experience for all!
4 TIPS TO MAKE KITCHEN TIME FUN!
ENGAGE THEIR SENSES
When cooking together, encourage kids to engage their five senses. For example, have them smell freshly sliced citrus, taste edible (not raw) ingredients, touch the shredded cheese, hear the vegetables being sauteed and see the magic of single foods being transformed into a finished dish. Such exploration will keep kids attentive and provides a unique way for them to experience the joy of food and cooking.
LET THEM TAKE THE LEAD
Let’s be real, cooking with young ones can get messy. And while you might be tempted to follow your little chef around with a cloth for instant clean-up, resist the urge! Giving a child freedom in the kitchen improves their confidence, makes them feel empowered and will ultimately make them want to cook with you again. In other words, make sure they are safe, embrace the mess, and plan cooking time when you can spare a few extra minutes for clean-up.
KEEP IT ACTIVE
Kids of all ages can play a part in cooking, which results in a tremendous sense of accomplishment for their finished masterpiece. Simple activities to start with include:
- Measuring dry or wet ingredients
- Stirring dry or wet ingredients
- “Painting” a baking sheet with oil using a pastry brush
- Sprinkling seasonings, herbs, spices, or grated cheese
- Crushing breadcrumbs or crackers for breading
- Pounding meat in a zip-top bag with a mallet
- Tearing lettuce
- Cracking eggs
- Pressing buttons on a mixer, blender, food processor or timer
- Counting ingredients
- Pouring small amounts of liquids
As they master these techniques, introduce more challenging activities like cooking with heat, cutting or slicing fruits and vegetables with kid-safe cookware, or using small kitchen equipment to build on their skills.
The key to success with anything is to be consistent. Strive to cook with your kids at least once a week in order to foster a genuine interest in food, cooking and basic kitchen skills. Beyond gaining confidence, knowledge and lifelong skills in the kitchen, cooking with your kids provides an amazing opportunity to spend time together while strengthening your bond and communication.
We wish all mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day and hope you enjoy your celebration!
For more recipes that the whole family will love, check out our recipe section that features ideas for all meal and snack occasions as well as kid-friendly, global cuisine and 30 minutes or less.
Registered dietitian and nutritionist Beth Stark and her sweet sous chef make peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough dip!
Registered dietitian and nutritionist Michelle Barber and her adorable sous chefs make a smore’s chiller!
Registered dietitian and nutritionist, Jessica Levinson and her daughters teach us how to make Greek yogurt toast!
Registered dietitian and nutritionist, Jessica Levinson and her kids teach us how to make pizza pasta bake!