Let’s Go! is lucky to have the support of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. They share our passion for healthy eating and today, they’re sharing tips for cooking with kids.
Authored by Karen Voci, President, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
Every holiday season brings its own traditional menu of sweets and special treats. We have to remember, that until just recently, these foods really were once a year indulgences. For many families, the winter holidays were the only time they had enough ingredients to produce a feast. Now we can have them any day, so holidays should still be a time for balancing healthy foods and treats. You can still enjoy the season without having to sacrifice the idea that food brings families together. Why not create some new holiday traditions around healthy food preparation with your kids? They’ll be proud of contributing to the celebration and gain the confidence to try new recipes that are delicious and healthy.
Here are some ideas from ChopChop Magazine: The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families:
- Give your kids an active role while preparing meals: Find places in your cooking process where you can incorporate a helping (little) hand. This can range from measuring to mixing to pulling ingredients and cooking utensils out of cabinets and drawers. Your process might take a little longer (and be a little messier), but it will be a valuable lesson in teaching your kids how to create homemade, healthy meals from kitchen ingredients instead of reaching for easy, pre-processed foods.
- Make it a learning experience: How can you incorporate school curriculum into your kids’ cooking experiences? For older children, talking about fractions while measuring ingredients is a great way to prove that you do, indeed, use math in “real life.” For younger learners, cooking is an opportune time to explore the five senses through real, hands-on experiences with your ingredients.
- Surrender creative control: Encourage your kids to exercise some of their imagination and creativity while cooking. Putting this kind of control in the hands of your young chefs will give them a sense of ownership over the finished product, as well as a feeling of independence and empowerment to create their own healthy snacks in the future.
As an added bonus, bringing your kids into the kitchen will add one more option to their list of non-screen time activities during a time of year when it can be hard to get outside and play.
Happy holidays and happy cooking!