There is little doubt that it is easier to make a meal for kids than to have them help. So why include them in this process? The reason is that there are many benefits you can reap from involving your children in making a meal.
Benefit #1. Both you and your kids will be working together on a project that has immediate rewards. The importance of this project, includes not only the meal, but the special time you have working together.
Benefit #2. Your child will be learning an important life skill, which, I've learned in my work as a dietitian, many people don't have. I've had people say that they cooked supper and meant they had put a frozen pizza in the oven!
Benefit #3. Your child may be willing to try some new foods.
Benefit #4. Your child will learn that special meals are not just restaurant ones, and that can be financially beneficial.
Benefit #5. Most meals made at home have much less salt and fat than those eaten out and can help keep the weight of both you and your kids in the normal range.
I think the benefits are best realized when the adults take the role of the "sous chef" and the kids lead the way as much as possible.
Depending on the age of the child, the meal can be become more or less complicated. My granddaughter was very proud of her appetizers. An adult will need to decide what help the child might need in cutting the baguette and using the
The only ingredients for these appetizers include a baguette, a small bottle of pesto, and Parmesan cheese. After slicing the baguette and putting it on a cookie sheet with parchment paper, my granddaughter put some pesto on each and grated cheese on top. Then with a little help from her "sous chefs" she watched the appetizers under the broiler until the cheese melted. These appetizers were definitely a great hit with every one.
My grandson chose the main course and dessert; both of these recipes were a little more ambitious than I would have chosen myself. My recommenda-tion would be to have three or four recipes available so the kids could choose from them. However, though the recipes were ambitious, they were a great success. Everyone loved the peppers, sausage, and potatoes, which was a one pot recipe; we choose red and yellow peppers to make the dish more colorful. The lemon bars were a great hit and I did simplify the recipe we used just a little for my website. All the recipes are available on my website - "Cookingtogetherwithfriends.com" - Menu #8. Please comment, sharing an experience you've had cooking with your kids. Also, click on the website to see the rest of the recipes.
Tricia Gregory, MA,RD/N
A dietitian who is a foodie and loves a great dinner party with wonderful food and terrific friends.