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Eat Smart for a Great Start Challenge


“Be the Chef” Part 3: Time to Cook!

Cory VicensHi, and welcome back to our last “Together Thursday” of the Eat Smart Challenge! Are you one of the 32 percent of parents who prepare 4 to 5 dinners a week with their children? Now that you and your child are ready to cook, you have one of the most important tasks ahead of you—deciding who will do which parts of the job! Take a few minutes to talk with your child or children about all the things that need to be done and get organized to make the meal they’ve planned. With your recipes in hand, determine the following:
Mother and daughter cooking

  • Will anyone need to cut up foods?
  • Will the food need to be baked, fried or boiled?
  • Will you need to use the oven or stovetop?
  • Will any other appliances need to be used?

Once you’ve talked about the jobs that need to be done and what each will require, begin to assign the tasks. If you have more than one child, and to be fair, give everyone a chance to be “head chef” by rotating each meal or week by each child, including Mom and Dad as “head chef.” Post a calendar and fill in the names on the assigned days.

As the “head chef,” your child should talk with everyone who’s going to be cooking to make sure they know what they need to do, when they need to do it, and where to find the foods and tools necessary for their part of the cooking. Encourage your child to ask if there is something someone really wants to do.

You may want to have a dry-erase board for kids to write down who’s doing what and when. As each task is completed, have everyone check it off the list. Make sure you don’t forget things like setting the table and cleaning up!

Set the timer, good luck and have fun!

—Cory Vicens


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