Give your child a healthy interest in food by getting them involved in the kitchen. It can be fun, all those new colours, flavours and textures to explore!
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So what kind of recipes can kids safely make?
- pizzas can be fun. Keep it simple, buy the ready made bases and let the children decorate them with a range of toppings. Pizza faces are a fun design, and you can make a different one for each member of the family. Try using tuna, peppers, sliced onions, salami and olives. Be creative!
- pasta shapes with bottled sauce makes a nice easy meal.Help will be needed to cook the pasta, but weighing, pouring, mixing and shaking over Parmesan cheese can be fun.
- try making home made burgers, meatballs or tuna patties. Make the basic mix with the kids, then let them make the meatballs or patties themselves. All that rolling and mashing is fun for little fingers, but make sure that they don´t eat the mix!
- for special occasions make recipes with a theme, such as Easter buns, Christmas cookies, rum truffles. Ideal as a special hand-made gift for Grandparents. Last Xmas my kids made “rum truffles” for the teachers in their Spanish village school, and carefully wrapped them in decorative bags. Imperfect in shape, lovely to taste and warmly welcomed by the teachers.
However you do need to follow some basic safety rules.
- try and limit it to one child at a time in the kitchen when hot items are involved. It is easier to supervise and you don´t get distracted.
- teach kids to recognise what items get hot and stay hot in the kitchen. Show them how to use an oven glove or mitts to pick up hot things.
- be careful around knives. I give each of my boys a small, safe knife as “theirs” and they are quite happy to use this for all their chopping and peeling.The chef´s knives are kept well out of reach!
- always clean up any spills immediately
- remember to turn saucepan handles to the back of the stove away from small hands
- roll up sleeves, wear old clothes or get kids their own protective apron to wear. There are some great designs around. Cooking with kids is messy!
- remember to wash their hands before and after cooking, especially if handling meat, and be clear about which foods they can taste prior to cooking. I have had to stop my son Alex eating raw meat several times!
Above all, keep safe, have fun and enjoy the results!