Sunday, September 30, 2012

5 Tips for Cooking With Kids

1. Mentally prepare yourself and reduce your expectations. You will not be able to cook as efficiently as you normally do. There WILL be a mess. Boundaries will have to be set, i.e., "Mommy uses the big knife." There will be spills and missteps. Reminding yourself of this before you start prepares you to just enjoy the process of cooking vs. the end game. Mentally preparing yourself will keep the mood light and fun.

2. Chose a recipe that has a lot of kid friendly steps, like most baking recipes. OR give them a kid friendly task. For example, if you are making baked chicken fingers, have them make the BBQ sauce or ketchup. We've got great healthy recipes for condiments (that exclude all the sugar and preservatives) and have them make those! Kids love to mix and pour. Dub them your little mad scientist.

3. Give them a rundown of rules and boundaries BEFORE you begin to cook. Nothing ruins a good parent/child activity more than being told 'no' a thousand times while in the midst of things. Before getting started, have a 'chefs meeting' and tell them the plan. Tell them what they are in charge of and what is off limits. "Mommy will do the chopping and you will do the mixing." Safety first!

4. Have them taste as you prepare the food. We all know that kids who help prepare meals are more likely to try the meal. Have your child taste components as they are being made, talk about how the food's texture changes as it's cooked. Ask lots of questions, "How is it different now that it's cooked? Does it feel softer?"

5. Choose recipes on the shorter side. Making something with an hour worth of prep may be too long for your little one. Stick to time limits you know your child can manage. We love making homemade pizzas because they don't take too long and they're fun to assemble. Choose your recipe wisely!

Happy Cooking!

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