We want to let you in on a secret… kids love to cook! We are experiencing a record number of kid foodies at HealthBarn USA this summer who are serious about cooking and eating healthy. This brings great joy to my heart as I experience kids enthusiastically giving thumbs up for our new and favorite recipes with freshly picked ingredients from the garden. Most adults don’t believe that kids will eat vegetables or try healthy foods, but that is not our experience at the barn!
Here are my secrets to getting your family chopping and eating the good stuff:
- Grow a Garden or Shop at Local Farmers’ Markets
. There is a HUGE difference in taste and texture when eating fresh from a garden or shopping in season at the local farmers’ market. The HealthBarn USA kids are more active than the groundhogs this summer nibbling on green beans, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, snap peas, cucumbers, carrots, basil and stevia (a natural sugar substitute).
- Make Cooking Fun & Interactive. Kids at any age can be a chef and participate in the cooking and eating process. Here’s the formula for fun: 1) Choose the right recipes; 2) Shop for the ingredients; 3) Plan the cooking activities ahead of time 4) Be the facilitator, not the chef; 5) Designate a taste tester when recipe is complete; 6) Share the meal together!
- Have Fun! Prepare for more time and clean-up, but it’s so worth it! And, who cares if the dumplings come out square instead of triangles, just enjoy the spirit of the efforts!
Top HealthBarn USA Summer Recipe Picks & How To Plan Activities:
- Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza: Instruct kids to roll out dough and while dough is being grilled, the kids have to go to the garden (or farmers’ market shop) to pick what’s available to make a tasty and colorful pizza. Make sure to have tomato sauce and cheese as toppings, too!
- Yum! Yum! Dumplings: WOW are these dumplings delicious (my go-to recipe for the pickiest of eaters, too!) with summer squash. Prepare the mixture ahead of time and get everyone involved in making the dumplings. Older kids can cook them with adult supervision.
Bonus: Making Pickles: Pickles are cool to make with kids and Kirby cucumbers are abundant at the moment. Instruct the kids to thinly chop cucumbers on a cutting board using a plastic knife and then, stack cucumbers in these great 5 ounce mason jars from Container Store, click here. Prepare brine by boiling 3 cups white wine vinegar, 3 cups water, 2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sea salt and 2 Tablespoons sugar for 3 minutes. Have kids pick their own personal spices, e.g. dill seeds and turmeric are our favorites! Then, pour brine over cucumbers to top of jar and seal tightly. Eat in 3-5 days, the longer you wait the better the pickles.
What are your favorite cooking activities to do with your kids?
– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.
What puzzles you about keeping your family healthy? Tell us what’s on your mind by emailing [email protected]. Stacey will answer those questions in her Mom’s Burning Questions blog weekly.