Although cooking can be a great profession or hobby, we often forget that it’s also an essential life skill. The earlier a person develops these abilities, the more likely they are to choose cooking for themselves over eating unhealthier options. That’s why it’s so important to introduce kids to cooking and helping out in the kitchen. They might just be turn out to be a top chef! At the very least, they’ll have the confidence to prepare meals and snacks on their own which may lead to healthy eating habits.
A great way to get kids started in the kitchen is to prepare healthy kid-friendly recipes and treats that are fun and easy. We’ve rounded up a few ideas that you can try with your little ones that are perfect for the summertime:
Homemade Popsicles: You can really play around with the ingredients when making your own popsicles. We suggest using your favorite yogurt and chopped fruit and/or fruit juice. Simply pour your ingredients into an ice cube tray or a plastic Popsicle mold (this option works much better) and place them in the freezer for a few hours until they’re solid. If you’re using an ice cube tray don’t forget to include some Popsicle sticks in the liquid before it freezes.
Popcorn Bar with Fun Toppings: Pop your own kernels using either an air popper or place them in a brown paper bag and pop them in the microwave. Once popped, toss with a microwave-melted butter. Offer a display of different toppings for the kids to toss in the popcorn such as Parmesan cheese, cinnamon and sugar, finely grated cheese, a package of Ranch dressing seasoning or melted chocolate chips. Be sure to monitor the amount of toppings.
Smoothies: Making a smoothie is simple. Have kids choose their favorite fruits, then put them in a blender with milk, ice and a bit of yogurt and blend. This is a great breakfast-on-the-go option.
Energy Balls: Mix 1 cup old fashioned oats with 1/2 cup peanut butter (or any other kind of nut butter), 1/2 cup flax seeds, 1 tsp maple syrup and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Once combined, cover the mixture and refrigerate for a 1/2 hour. Once chilled, roll into balls and serve. You can store them in the fridge for about a week.
These are great ways to help introduce your children to the world of cooking, but there are plenty of things kids can learn when it comes to being successful in the kitchen. Specialized classes are a wonderful way for children to get hands-on experience in the kitchen while the learning the fundamental basics of cooking. L’Ecole Culinaire-St. Louis offers classes in Basic Beginner Baking that are perfect for kids in kindergarten through grade 8. For information or to register, visit www.lecole.edu.