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:
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.
Your child will be learning an important life skill, which I’ve learned many people don’t have in my work as a dietitian. I’ve had people say that they cooked supper and meant they had put a frozen pizza in the oven!
Your child may be willing to try some new foods.
Your child will learn that special meals are not just restaurant ones and that can be financially beneficial.
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.
Recently I made a dinner with my grandchildren. While my grandson worked on the main course and dessert, my granddaughter made the Pesto Appetizers. The only ingredients for these appetizers include a baguette, a small bottle of pesto and Parmesan cheese. An adult will need to decide what help the child might need in cutting the baguette and using the stove.
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 were definitely a great hit with everyone, and my granddaughter was very proud of her appetizers.
- Parmesan Cheese
- Cut the baguette into appetizer size slices and place on cookie sheet.
- Preheat broiler.
- Spread the pesto on each slice to desired thickness.
- Grate cheese if necessary, topping each baguette slice with cheese.
- Broil about 2 minutes or until cheese melts.