Weekends in my house are always jam-packed– and I’m sure I’m not alone! Between driving the kids to their Saturday activities to running personal errands, everyone is exhausted by the end of the day.
It’s easy to say “yes” to takeout on hectic weekends, but why bring in food when you can bring your children into the mix? Having family nights in the kitchen is a great solution to eat and save smarter. Who knew kids would be the key ingredient?!
Here are some tips to having a successful cooking experience, with your children acting as the sous chef:
When it comes to choosing a recipe to prepare with your kids, it’s always a good idea to start simple. Choose a recipe that your child already loves, so that they’re more invested in making it. One of my favorites to make at home is pizza because not only is it a healthy alternative to traditional delivery pizza, but it’s also an easy way to sneak in other healthy ingredients your children wouldn’t typically gravitate toward alone, like seafood.
Starkist’s Pizza Olé is a great first recipe to try out on your ‘Kids in the Kitchen Night.’ Tuna is a great source of lean protein and with natural omega 3s it’s a great ingredient to add to your pizza! Plus, with StarKist pouches, there is no mess or draining involved making it that much easier.
Kids will love using their hands to knead and throw the dough high in the air (just make sure they do this over the counter first). Making pizza is also convenient if you have picky eaters- have them choose their own portion of the pie so they can decide on the amount of toppings they want.
Kids in Control
Assign your kids a specific step in the dinner making process so they feel more in charge. It’s a great way for them to be even more involved in the preparations, and they’ll love the extra responsibility! Younger children can wash fruits and vegetables, remove seeds, pour ingredients and set the dinner table. If you have older kids, put them in charge of measuring ingredients, stirring batter and using some safe appliances like an egg beater or a spiralizer.
Cooking with your family is a great way to bond with each other. In today’s world, we’re all attached to technology, whether it’s our phone, our computer or the TV. Sometimes, we forget to dig deeper than simply asking how everyone’s day was. “Fine” is not an answer! Take this time in the kitchen to have quality conversations with your children. Turn-off all technology and really focus on connecting with your kids to further develop the relationship. For instance, talk to your kids about the healthy foods and ingredients they’re preparing.
Dishes Before Dessert
You’ve prepped the ingredients and made your meal. Now, it’s time for the most dreaded part of cooking: cleaning up. The good part of cooking together is that you have extra, little hands to help!
Washing the dishes may not be the most exciting task of the day, but it’s important for kids to get in the habit of cleaning the messes they make. To motivate children’s participation, make sure the kitchen looks spotless before serving dessert. Try making clean-up fun! Play some tunes so you can sing and dance around the kitchen counter. Time will fly by and cleanup will take no time at all.
Will you be cooking with your kids anytime soon? What are your tips to get them more involved in dinner preparations?
For more simple and kid-friendly recipes, visit www.StarKist.com/Recipe
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