How to Make Healthy Cooking a Family Affair

salad-stuffed popovers

Enlisting kids to help out in the kitchen can have numerous benefits beyond an extra pair of little hands assisting us:

  • Cooking teaches children useful skills, including cooperation, coordination, math (fractions and more) and problem-solving.
  • Cooking is a bonding experience for parents and kids.
  • Cooking an array of things, including fruits and vegetables, helps children develop a healthy relationship with the foods they eat, which is associated with better health and eating habits as they become teens and adults.

No matter the age, there's always a way a child can help cook. For example:

  • All kids can learn to talk about what foods they like and why (in terms of taste, touch, texture, etc.).
  • Very young children can help assemble and mix simple ingredients, tear lettuce for salad, add pre-measured ingredients and maybe even crack eggs if they're careful!
  • Older children can start measuring ingredients, use a kid-friendly knife for easy-to-chop ingredients, learn to follow basic recipes and mix together ingredients that form more complex dishes.
  • Teens can cultivate even more cooking abilities such as knife skills (initially supervised), more precise measuring and weighing, operating appliances independently and creating their own recipes.
Here are a few recipes to get your family started:
quesadilla bar
pizza pocket
oatmeal blondies
quick fruit salad

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Food Stylist: Stephana Bottom

Photo by: Kang Kim ©Copyright Kang Kim 2012

Kang Kim , Copyright Kang Kim 2012

Through his book and blog, Death of the Diet , Jason Machowsky, MS, RD, CSCS, empowers people to live the life they want by integrating healthy eating and physical activity habits into their daily routines. You can follow him on Twitter @JMachowskyRDFit .

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