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How to get your kid to help make dinner (and eat it, too)


Simple kitchen tasks can build kids’ confidence and food knowledge and make them more likely to try new things. Here’s how to get your little sous chef cooking.

Cooking together is a great way to bond as a family. So if you’re looking to get your kids involved with dinner prep, here are a few kid friendly tasks to keep those little hands busy. Plus, you’ll have something yummy to eat for dinner that everyone can be proud of.

Mash

Kids are often stronger than they look. Harness that power for your potatoes and get them mashing. Choose a masher with a sturdy handle and ensure potatoes are cooled and contained in a bowl with a rubber or silicone base to prevent it from slipping on the counter.

Scrub

Kids aren’t known for their love of cleaning, but most little ones enjoy the task of scrubbing potatoes or beets (for a few minutes, anyway).

Chop

Hard plastic knives with blunt tips, serrated edges and rubber grip handles are perfect for newly minted chefs and will help kids cut food with confidence. Let them use a heavy cutting board of one with grips to prevent it from shifting while they chop.

Grate

Worried about grating hands along with the cheese? A rotary grater—the kind with the spinning handle that you often see at restaurants—will help ease the stress.

Juice

Why squeeze a lemon when you can use a citrus juicer? This is an ideal job for younger helpers who may not be ready to tackle more fine motor–skilled tasks like chopping and grating.

Peel

A peeler with a learning ring (your kid slips their finger in there) ensures the proper holding and pulling technique that is crucial for perfectly peeled carrots. Show them how to peel away from their body to avoid cuts.

Mix and measure

Let your master chef take the reins when measuring out dry ingredients. It will reinforce fractions and open up interesting conversations, like the difference between baking soda and baking powder.

Watch the time

Cooking requires a degree of precision. Teach them about numbers, timing and patience (!) with a wind-up timer. Tackle recipes as a team with each member taking on a role—peeler, chopper, stir-fryer. The meal will come together fast and everyone will feel like they’ve contributed.

Taste test

As you prep and cook, talk about the meal with your kids. Encourage them to try out a raw veggie or dip a finger in the sauce to see what they think of the flavours.

Here are a five kid-friendly meal ideas to get you started:

1. Baked Ham and Cheese Frittata

skillet of frittata ready to be served

This ham and cheese frittata is delicious hot, warm or at room temperature! Serve leftovers between toasted bread to make a western omelette sandwich. Get the recipe: Baked Ham and Cheese Frittata

2. Roasted vegetable Buddha bowl sheet pan

tray of roasted veggies with white sauce

Photo: Roberto Caruso

There’s nothing better than roasted veggies—especially when they’re seasoned to perfection. Toss in a quick tahini dressing and you’ve got dinner! Get the recipe: Roasted vegetable Buddha bowl sheet pan

3. Chicken pot pie

Photo: Erik Putz

Turn your sheet pan into a pie plate. This easy recipe makes two pies so you can enjoy one tonight and freeze the other for a night when you just can’t. Get the recipe: Chicken pot pie

4. Creamy Chicken and Bow-Tie Pasta

Bowtie pasta with asparagus and chicken in a creamy white sauce

Photo: Erik Putz

Wearing a bowtie is optional for dining on this restaurant-quality chicken pasta. You’ve got dinner in the bag in just 25 minutes. Get the recipe: Creamy Chicken and Bow-Tie Pasta

5. French toast bread pudding

child pouring syrup on French toast

Photo: Carmen Cheung

This French toast spin on traditional bread pudding is sure to make your mornings a little sweeter. Get the recipe: French toast bread pudding



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