Learning about cooking for children allows you to explore several cooking techniques including easy to prepare healthy meals for kids, including using a variety of cooking tools and slow cooking. The ultimate emphasis of effective, healthy cooking for children is on the parents’ use of nutritious, low-fat, and high nutritional foods in their children’s diets. By teaching kids how to cook, you encourage them to pick up good eating habits and develop the sense of responsibility that comes with eating well. Learning about healthy cooking for children often begins at home, with parents working together to create meals that are fun, tasty, and healthy. Here are some simple tips from the Certified Senior Chef, Les Brown, for preparing meals for kids that get results:
*Step one: Pick a theme and choose one of the tasty dishes that fits the theme. Les recommends serving an apple pie with apple sauce and apple crumble as an example of a “light” meal for two. “FTREX beats egg whites, buttermilk beats rice and noodles, and quinoa beats all other grains.” Start with a base of children-friendly foods so that you don’t end up cooking just junk food for your children.
*Step two: Make sure you have enough time to prepare all the ingredients and clean up afterward. Kids are very active and need a lot of rest after cooking. Teach your children about being clean when they are done with a dish. This will help them to love cleaning up after cooking for kids, too. It also encourages them to make good use of cooking time by getting it out of the house and letting them finish what they have started.
*Step three: Find good recipes for cooking for children that appeal to them. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, use tried and true cooking styles that are age-appropriate for your children. For example, while we are discussing macaroni and cheese, remind your children that macaroni and cheese are actually an Italian pasta dish. If you want to go a different route with chicken nuggets, you can substitute lean ham for the cheese in your children’s chicken nuggets.
*Step four: Take the opportunity to discuss family meals and eating habits with your children. Make this step especially important if you have a lot of parents working or staying at home to watch their kids. Let your children know that it’s okay to say no to some of their favorite foods if you are cooking a healthier meal for them. (As an aside, be sure to keep serving sizes in mind when making changes to your child’s meal routine.)
The last, but not least important step in cooking for children is to let your children feel like they are in control. Kids are naturally curious and inquisitive, and they need to see that you respect that. Give your children plenty of food to eat; don’t feed them everything that you want to put in front of them. Also, explain why you are doing what you are doing, and ask your children to think about their own opinion on it. In this way, cooking for children is something that they will enjoy and look forward to throughout the week.