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Healthy Cooking with Your Kids

Debora V
Senior Editor, TipsHire

When it comes to taking a better care of our kids, the foods we choose for and how we prepare them is crucial. As a parent, not once happened to face your children’s refusal when you serve them vegetable dishes. We know that green is not their favorite color if they found it in foods they should eat. Therefore, it can be a real challenge for a mother to find the best recipes to cook healthy but also tasty for their children.

The benefits of cooking with your kids

For some parents, it isn’t such a good idea to cook with their kid, especially if they think about the mess it may occur in the kitchen. Forgetting about the mess and the time you have to spend afterwards to clean, cooking with children is beneficial to children and adults alike. It is a fun way to determine your children want to try new foods and is a great opportunity to bond and create unforgettable family memories. Nevertheless, it encourages them to eat healthy foods that are important for their harmonious development.

In order to eat healthy, a kid needs to consume more fruits and vegetables, whole grain, beans, leaner types of animal food and fish. According to a report of the American Heart Association concerning overweight in children in teens, it is important to offer your children healthier and low-calorie foods, to have specific times for family meals, to reduce the number of meals consumed outside the home and allow them to participate in food shopping and preparation. Obesity in children should certainly be avoided, and by following a few simple steps it is possible. Remember that healthy habits are learned in the family.

You can see the benefits of cooking with your children on the short term. These benefits include encouraging them to try healthy foods and sitting down to a family meal that they helped prepare, giving the feeling of accomplishment, eating less junk foods and spending less time in front of the TV and computer. Another important advantage consists of spending more quality time with your kids.

There are, also, important long-term benefits, such as learning your children to cook, which is an important skill that they could as adults. Learning the basics of healthy cooking and eating from an early age is essential if you want your children to eat healthy when they become adults. Thus, a healthy diet will become a lifestyle that the little one will embrace gladly when they will grow up. Nevertheless, a constructive cooking experience, with good results, helps children improve their self-confidence.

The benefits of cooking with your kids exceed any expectation, if we think that it can help prevent drug abuse. Cooking with your children is the first step towards eating dinner together as a family every evening. It is important for your children to appreciate family meals, which opens the doors for building a beautiful relationship parent-child. Gradually, communication with your children will improve, and any vulnerability to drug use can be eliminated. It’s incredible how simple and enjoyable activities, such as spending time in the kitchen with your children can offer so many benefits.

Starting cooking with your children

Probably the first step is the most difficult, until we will set out a routine. As long as you can make time for cooking with your children, it is likely to become the favorite activity of the family. A good start is the first meal of the day, considered the most important one. If you don’t have time to prepare and eat breakfast with your family because of your work, do it in the weekends or in school holidays. You should take advantage of every opportunity that you have to do something nice with your children, and if such an activity has effects on their health it is even better.

If you cannot cook with them in the morning, make time in the evening and prepare dinner together. Make sure to prepare the area of cooking before starting and organize everything perfectly, so that you make the most of your experience and you boost their self-confidence. Be sure you eliminate any chance of accidents.

Start with foods that are easy to cook, such as smoothies, pasta, sandwiches or muffins. If your child is under 5 years old, he or she can help you with scrubbing, tearing, dipping or snapping, depending on the dish you want to prepare. He/she can also remove husks from corn, shape or cut with a cookie cutter, wash fruits and vegetables, measure and poor the ingredients and even mix them by hand.

For children older than 10 years old, you can ask them to crack and separate eggs, to read the recipes, to stir the food that is over the stove (but only under an adult supervision), to cut the vegetables and foods with a plastic knife or grating cheese.

Ideas for a healthy breakfast

You are probably in a huge hurry in the morning, but if we can spare some time, try to prepare a delicious breakfast with your children. We offer you some ideas for tasty and easy to prepare recipes.

Delicious English Muffin

Easy to prepare and rich in protein, this is a meat free food perfect for starting the day with your children. You need 4 English muffins, slices of tomato, 2 hard-cooked and sliced eggs, grated mozzarella, oregano, olive oil and kosher salt.

The preparation is easy. You need to make hard-cooked eggs, toast halves of eight English muffins and put them on a cookie sheet. First you drizzle each half of English muffin with oil, then layer the tomato slices, the slices of hard-cooked eggs and some grated mozzarella. Add some oregano and kosher salt, then broil for 5 minutes and enjoy. Your children can grate mozzarella, sprinkle the oregano or cut the eggs, depending on their age.

Parfait with granola and yogurt

This is a rich source of calcium and energy that will give your children the impression they eat dessert and not breakfast. You need to layer three ingredients in a glass, starting with ¼ cup of granola. Next you add the yogurt on top of the granola and drizzle with syrup. Your children will enjoy. You need only a few minutes to prepare it and the little ones can learn how to prepare it themselves.

Funny bagel with cream cheese

It can be difficult to convince a child to eat vegetable, even if we offer them the most common ones, such as tomato and cucumber. Trying to present the vegetables in a funny way can do the trick. You need 2 bagels split in half, ½ cup of cream cheese, ½ plum tomato cut into wedges and 1 small Kirby cucumber.

First you have to toast the halves of bagel and anoint them with cream cheese. After that, cut the cucumber into eight rounds and several thin slices perfect for forming eyeglasses. Cut the tomato in four wedges for forming a smile. With these ingredients, you can make four funny bagels with cream cheese and vegetables.

Ideas for a healthy dinner

Each meal of the day is important and the dinner is a great opportunity for the family to spend some quality time together.

Macaroni and cheese with no baking

Although it may seem a good idea for lunch, a quick recipe for macaroni and cheese may the perfect choice for dinner. This recipe is a life savior when you are short of time and need to prepare a tasty and healthy meal. You need 8 ounces of whole-wheat elbow noodles or two cups, 3 tablespoons of flour, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 ¾ cups od divided low-fat milk, 1 package of 10-ounce frozen and chopped broccoli, ½ teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ¼ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, ¼ teaspoon of ground white pepper and ¾ shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese.

After bringing the water to boil, cook the pasta for 4 minutes and then add the frozen broccoli. Continue to cook until the pasta and broccoli become tender for another 4 to 5 minutes. Meantime, heat 1 ½ cups of milk until just simmering.

Mix the remaining ¼ cup of milk with garlic powder, flour, pepper and salt in a small bowl until it forms a smooth composition. Add this composition to the simmering milk and put it to cook, mixing constantly, until the mixture becomes thick, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove it from the heat and add the Cheddar cheese, parmesan and mustard, whisk until the cheese is melted, drain the pasta and broccoli and combine it with the cheese sauce. Put it again to the heat and cook it for about 1 minute, stirring it, until it is heated. It is a delicious dish that your children will love to eat, but also to contribute to its preparation.

Mini meat loaf

Everything that is funny is tasty for children. You need 375 g of grounded beef and turkey, 25 g of panko bread crumbs, 180 ml whole milk, 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan, ¼ cup of ketchup, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, ½ tablespoon of freshy grounded pepper. Using these ingredients, you can prepare delicious meat loaves that your children will love eating. Start with preheating the oven to 190 Celsius degrees. Put ¼ bread crumbs in a large bowl, add the milk and let the crumbs for 3 minutes to absorb the milk. After that add the beef and the remaining ¼ cup of bread crumbs, Parmesan, pepper, salt and ketchup. Mix gently all the ingredients until they are well combined.

Put the baking sheet and form 12 mini loaves from the beef mixture. Each meat loaf should have about 8 cm long, 5 cm wide and 3 cm high. Bake them until the bottoms become brown, for about 20-25 minutes. You can add some cooked vegetables seasoned with a delicious sauce. Meat loaves look amazing so that it will be difficult for children to refuse vegetables. In addition, they will have a great time when they try to shape the meat loaves.

Pizza with Asparagus and Gruyere

Children love pizza, but they are not so excited if it contains vegetables. This pizza recipe that contains vegetable will become your children’s favorite. You need pizza dough, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cornmeal and flour for dusting, 2 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped, 50 g of asparagus, ½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup of shredded Gruyere cheese and kosher salt.

After you prepare the dough, separate it into 4 equal pieces with the form of a disk. Then you let it rise for a second time and preheat the oven to 200 Celsius degrees. Drizzle some cornmeal on baking sheets and heat some oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and sauté until it becomes soft for about 3-5 minutes. Use a fine sieve to strain the oil and prepare your work surface, by flouring it. Now you have to roll one dough disk into an oval of 20 cm long, 10 m wide and 12 mm thick and put it on one half of the baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Use the garlic oil to brush the dough and then arrange one fourth of the asparagus slices evenly over the crust.

Then sprinkle one fourth of mozzarella and one fourth of Gruyere, add salt and do the same with the other three doughs. Now bake until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is melted, for about 10-12 minutes. Everything it remains for you to do is to cut the pizzas into pieces and enjoy it with your family. Your kids will have a great time at assembling pizzas.

Definitely, cooking with your children is one of the funniest and most educational activities you can enjoy with your little ones. If you cannot do it three or four times a week, you should do this in weekends. It is important that children learn the basics of healthy eating, while they have a lot of fun.

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