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Eat Smart for a Great Start Challenge


Encourage Your Kid to Be the Chef

Chef Marshall O'BrienHi, I’m Chef Marshall O’Brien and I’m a professional chef and advisor to Produce for Kids. One of the things I like best about my career is working with kids to help them develop their skills in the kitchen and create healthy meals to share with their friends and families.

Family cooking togetherOne of the first things we tackle is choosing recipes that are interesting but not too complicated for young cooks. Here are a few topics to discuss to help decide if a meal is a good one for your child to cook (with your help, of course).

  • Make a list of your child’s favorite meals (making something they like will be more rewarding).
  • What tools or appliances has your child used before? If a meal will require tools they aren’t comfortable with, you can help with those parts of the preparation, but you want to make sure that the meal has a good amount of work for your child to do.
  • How much time do you have to cook the meal?
  • What ingredients do you have at home, and which ones will you need to buy? You’ll be planning a shopping list tomorrow, so having something to buy will be good, but it’s always convenient to try to use ingredients you have on hand.

Now, look down the list and see which recipes meet your criteria. Hopefully, you’ll find one or two that you and your child agree would be fun to make. If you need a tie-breaker, see if any of the potential meals are preferred by the rest of the family. A good chef prepares something their guests will enjoy.

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