Between grocery shopping, meal planning, preparing food and cleaning up, keeping everyone in your family fed can be a major challenge. But you don’t have to do all the work yourself. You already have eager helpers right at your fingertips — your kids!
There are many benefits of cooking with kids, including helping them develop valuable life skills including healthy eating habits, meal planning and cooking.
Here’s what you need to know before you have your little ones prepare your next family meal.
Keep It Simple
Rather than dive into elaborate, four-course meals, start with the basics. You and your kids will feel much less intimidated by the process, and everyone will have more fun. Think of family favorites with simple recipes or check out this list with few easy ideas to get started:
- Pancakes, made with eggs, bananas and peanut butter
- Smoothies, made with yogurt, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries and bananas
- Healthy pizza, made with homemade or refrigerated crust, tomato sauce, grass-fed browned ground beef, raw low-fat cheese and sliced mushrooms and peppers
- Meatballs, made with ground beef, bread crumbs, minced garlic and onions, unrefined salt and freshly ground pepper
- Coconut chicken, made with boneless chicken breasts, coconut oil, shredded coconut, unrefined salt and freshly ground pepper
- Steamed vegetables, including a combination of green beans, broccoli and cauliflower
There’s more involved in cooking with kids than just the actual cooking. Shopping for food, planning meals, cleaning up dishes and setting the table are all valuable tasks too. Your kids will see the entire process through from start to finish and view themselves as playing a valuable role in your family kitchen.
Have your kids get involved with cooking as often as possible and ask for their meal ideas. Allow them to take an increasingly active role in your family’s cooking as they get older, giving them more difficult tasks as they learn and grow. As you involve them, you’ll be offering them the lifelong gift of a love for healthy food and the priceless skill of being able to cook for themselves and others.
Supervise kids when they’re around hot stoves and ovens, sharp knives and electrical appliances. If you allow kids to handle raw meat or eggs, make sure they wash their hands thoroughly before and after. Have them also wash their hands and cooking instruments before helping with food preparation.
Do you and your family cook together? Share your favorite family meals in the comment section.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.