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David W. Grotto, RD, LDN is a member of the Produce for Kids advisory board. He is also the president and founder of Nutrition Housecall, a nutrition consulting firm. Read more »
Sorry, David Grotto, RD, LDN is no longer taking questions.
At first, they may be words that make you cringe. Cooking is your domain and a kid's job is to just eat. But teaching basic cooking techniques is an important life skill for kids to learn.
You may have already heard about the benefits of children having a hand in the growing, purchasing, or the preparation of their own food. Kids who are actively involved in the process, from field to plate, stand a greater chance of making healthier food choices now and in the future.
And the task of teaching kids to cook doesn't have to default to mom, the school cooking class teacher, or your favorite food show host. As a dad and a registered dietitian, I have found this to be great way to spend time with my kids while getting them to be passionate about preparing delicious yet healthy meals we all love.
Let me share some tips on how dads out there can cook up a storm with their kids in a fun and healthy way.Research recipes or find cookbooks geared for children.
Once you familiarize your children with the basics of cooking and how to cook safely, the next question is "What shall we make?" As much as you think your kids might want to learn how to make your famous baked anchovy-encrusted liver casserole, you may be surprised to learn that they want to start off with something more "simple". Go to your favorite bookstore or search on line for kids cookbooks or download some interesting kid-friendly recipes. But if you are stuck for ideas and want to start off simple, here are some great ideas my kids love.Pizza!
You can either start off by buying ready-made crusts or you can make it yourself with simple ingredients. Also, look for ready-made whole grain crusts or adapt an existing recipe for pizza crust by swapping out half of the flour for whole wheat flour. You can also use flour or corn tortillas as an excellent base to hold their favorite toppings. The key is "anything goes"!Grillin' & Thrillin'
It's especially hard for dads to hand over the reins to the kids when it comes to grilling. And part of that anxiety is an understandable concern about safety. I had my daughters start helping me cook on the grill when they were around 10. I always make sure to lay down a few simple rules to help make grilling fun and safe.
Now that they are ready, here are some great kid-friendly foods for grilling out or indoors.
Let's face it; sometimes you or the kids simply don't have the time to cook, but you still want them to have something delicious and healthy. Smoothies are the perfect choice that your kids will love to create and can share the "fruits" of their labor with you!
Lastly, just have fun. The finished product may not look "perfect" in your eyes, but congratulate the kids anyway on a job well done and enjoy every bite. They'll really be thrilled for just the chance to help you. And you know how the old saying goes, "Practice makes perfect," or hopefully, better than the time before.
So, what kinds of foods do you cook with your kids?
Sorry, David Grotto, RD, LDN is no longer taking questions. Feel free to comment on the article and let us know what you think about the topic.