Food For Thought – Cooking Fun 101 this March Break
March break is here!!…
OK, I get it. I can hear the excitement in response to those four words (or lack thereof). Whether the kiddos are going to camp, daycare, to Grammie’s and Grampie’s, or staying at home with you, it’s good to have a plan in place to keep them busy. While the week may not even be here yet, you may find yourself struggling to find ideas to keep them busy and ways to keep them off that darn iPad and TV.
I’m here to the rescue!
Keeping in line with the “food” and “healthy eating” theme, here are some fun ways to keep your kids busy in the kitchen during March break. BONUS – they’ll also walk away with some awesome food skills.
- Squeeze bottle pancake art
Who doesn’t love pancakes in fun shapes! You don’t need any fancy skills either. All you need is pancake batter, a squeeze bottle and a pan/griddle. Make sure to supervise the wee ones with the hot pan/griddle. The options are endless!
- Host a cooking party
Help your kids plan a party with their friends – a cooking party! This may take a bit of planning, some adult help and a little bit of elbow grease to clean up afterwards, but I assure you it will be worth it. Have your kids choose three recipes – an appetizer, a main and a dessert. Shop together for the ingredients. Invite their friends over. Get cooking! My favorite recipes for cooking parties with the kids are:
Appetizer – veggie cups (place a bit of light ranch dressing in the bottom of the cups and add thin slices of their favorite veggies – try celery, carrots and peppers)
Main – mini personal pizzas (let them dress and decorate their own pizzas with their toppings of choice)
Dessert – fruit kebabs (let them choose the fruit and create their own kebabs…add in some mini marshmallows for fun)
- Cookie cutter sandwiches
Have the kids prepare sandwiches of their choice and then make them into different shapes using cookie cutters. Works great for PB&J, lower fat cheese and low fat deli meat sandwiches.
- Living room picnic
I suggest the living room, but if your kids are up for an adventure, and it’s not too cold, why not picnic outside (bundled up, of course)! Let the kids decide what to choose for the picnic (encouraging healthy choices), prepare it, and then set up in the living room or outside for a lovely family picnic.
There are so many benefits to getting your kids involved in preparing and cooking food, as well as allowing their creative juices to flow. Here are just a few:
- Kids learn about nutrition and healthy eating.
- Teaching kids to cook will instill food skills to last a lifetime.
- It’s a boost to their self-esteem and confidence in the kitchen.
- It allows for family time and bonding.
- Kids are more likely to eat what they make.
- Cooking helps reinforce subjects like science, math and creativity.
- Kids can help contribute to the family through helping in the kitchen.
- Kids learn how to work together as a team – a great life skill!
- Preparing meals and cooking teaches kids about planning and making healthy food choices.
- It’s FUN!
Happy March break to you and yours!