Does anyone ever see a picture of families cooking together and wonder how to get your kiddos in the kitchen with you? It seems like a challenging task initially, but it turns out your kids of all ages make great assistant chefs. All it takes is a little guidance, patience and, most importantly, fun! With winter break approaching, this is the perfect time for some quality time in the kitchen. Here are some of the benefits to getting those kiddos involved in cooking:
- It encourages healthy and adventurous eating. Everyone is more likely to try a new dish if they were involved in the preparation! Kids will feel proud of the final product and it will be easier to encourage consumption of different fruits, vegetables, and whole grains if they are excited to share with others!
- Cooking teaches many different math and science skills. Between conversions and cooking reactions, those little ones will get a chance to refresh these lessons and learn how they apply to daily life, which is especially great during winter break!
- Increases confidence in the kitchen. Feeling comfortable and confident in cooking is important for anyone and developing these feelings during those adolescent years will help ensure those cooking habits will carry into adulthood.
- Provides the opportunity for quality family time. With our busy lives and schedules, sometimes it’s hard to find some uninterrupted time as a family. Cooking is a great way to spend some time together, catch up on everyone’s lives and, create some lasting memories!
Try these fun and easy recipes to get everyone involved and excited about cooking!
Fruit Pizza Squares
- Chop up 2 cups of mixed fruit and mix with the juice from half of a lemon.
- In a bowl, mix ½ cup cream cheese, ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, ¼ teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon orange juice.
- Spread mixture onto graham cracker squares, top with fruit, and enjoy!
Frozen Yogurt in a Bag
- Mix 1 cup flavored yogurt with 1 cup plain yogurt. Transfer ½ cup of mixture into small snack sized zip top bags and seal tightly.
- In separate quart sized bags, add two cups of ice and 2 tablespoons of salt.
- Add the snack sized yogurt bag to the bag full of ice. Seal closed. Hold with paper towels and shake hard for 3-5 minutes until yogurt hardens. Top with fresh fruit and serve.
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat 1 cup peanut butter for 40 seconds. Stir. Add ½ cup honey or maple syrup and microwave another 30 seconds. Mix in 1 tsp vanilla.
- Pour mixture over 5 cups cereal of choice and 1 cup raisins and mix until coated.
- Scoop bite-sized spoonfuls and place on greased aluminum foil. Place in refrigerator to harden.
Open Face Quesadilla
- Top a whole wheat tortilla with cheese and any type of vegetable or protein, try using a cookie cutter to make fun shapes!
- Heat in lightly greased skillet or microwave for 30-40 seconds or until cheese is melted
- Thread 1 green grape, 1 slice of mozzarella cheese, and 1 strawberry with the point facing up onto a toothpick to resemble the Grinch.
- Fill celery sticks with peanut butter. Break pretzel twists in half and place near the top to form antlers. Add dried fruit as the eyes and nose.
- Cut 3 circles of mozzarella cheese and place on 3 whole wheat circular crackers to resemble a snowman. Using dried fruit as the eyes and buttons, celery for the arms, carrot for the nose, and a strawberry for the hat, finish assembling your snowman. Feel free to use any items you have to create your masterpiece!