Easy Dinner Recipes for Kids: Getting Kids Invested in What They Eat
Got a picky eater? Let these easy dinner recipes for kids make your life easier!
Do you face protest from picky eaters at the dinner table? Let your little ones help out during meal preparation and watch their interest in dinnertime grow! When your kids become invested in what they eat, they're more likely to take a chance at mealtimes.
These easy dinner recipes for kids will get them helping out in the kitchen and learning about a variety of foods. "Cooking is an invaluable life skill and can be great fun, too. If encouraged to get involved in the kitchen, whether it be helping to prepare meals or doing some home baking, this can develop a child's interest in food and encourage them to try different ingredients," says food and cookery writer Nicola Graimes, the author of "New Vegetarian Kitchen" and several other cookbooks.
How to Empower Them to Help Out
Let kids choose a few menu items they'd like for dinner to get them invested in the process. Get kids further involved by having them help you cook. "Getting kids involved in cooking is a win-win situation: You can keep them busy and they can take a few tasks off your list," says Jane Logan, a Top Canadian Foodie Award winner and the writer at Hungry Janey, a blog dedicated to getting the family eating delicious, healthy and home-cooked meals.
"Sure, you could probably get it all done a bit faster without them," she says, "but it really can be some productive and quality family time spent together. And when kids help prepare the meal, they are often much more enthusiastic about eating it!" A few of Logan's favorite ways to get kids involved in the cooking process include letting them scrub potatoes, crack eggs or grate cheese. These simple duties can make kids feel great about helping you make dinner. Encourage your nanny to let the kids help out at mealtime to boost their kitchen confidence!
Who better to get kids' cooking tips from than Kid Chef Eliana herself? Young Eliana de Las Casas is a pro in the kitchen and can inspire your children to start building the skills they need to cook for the whole family. She says, "I think it's really important to get kids and families in the kitchen together, and I encourage it. Kids who cook are more likely to eat their food. Cooking helps kids expand their palates and allows them to try new foods and ingredients." Furthermore, Eliana believes kids can help out safely during dinner prep: "Kids can always help mix, stir and add ingredients to the pot. If they're responsible enough, they can even start using a lettuce knife because it has a serrated edge that isn't sharp. It's perfect for kids who want to help in the kitchen."
What to Make
Cooking with kids doesn't have to mean pizza and grilled cheese every time. While kids tend to choose their favorites at mealtime, you can also introduce them to foods they might not otherwise try by letting them have a hand in making them. There's always something your kids can do to help make a meal.
- Start with something simple, like Logan's Grilled Pizza With Greens -- not only will your kids be able to help with the prep, but your whole family will love this delicious, healthy grilled pizza. Kids can help wash the greens, wrap the garlic before roasting, stretch the dough and add the toppings.
- Try Kid Chef Eliana's Pork Adobo for a simple recipe with a lot of stirring. This non-spicy entree is seasoned with soy sauce, vinegar and bay leaves. Older kids can cook the whole thing, and younger kids can help measure and mix the sauce and the slurry.
- If you're looking for something a little fancy, try Logan's Maple Curry Chicken With Penne or Butter Chicken to impress your guests and give your sous-chef something to be proud of. Older kids can do the sauteeing. Younger chefs can cut vegetables and measure ingredients.
- In the mood for something a little heartier? How about this Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie from Pint-Sized Treasures? Most of the ingredients for this gem are already in your cupboard, and cleanup is a snap with only two pots to worry about. This recipe includes many kid-friendly tasks, such as snapping green beans in half and stirring the pot, so kids can feel accomplished when the family comments on how delicious it is.
Take the kids shopping for the ingredients so they can feel involved in every part of the process. Get started with these easy dinner recipes for kids, and soon you'll have extra hands in the kitchen each night, ready to help out with a cool new dish for the whole family.
Want more dinner ideas? Check out these Food and Recipes articles!
Shanell Mouland is a writer from New Brunswick, Canada. She has been published on The Huffington Post, People.com, BuzzFeed, Oprah Magazine, South Africa and dozens of other publications. Her wit and candor have endeared her to her blog followers at Go Team Kate. She is currently writing a book detailing her family's trek through the autism odyssey with her husband Alex and daughters Grace and Kate.