Cooking with Kids

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Article written by Carol Schwarz (, Extension Educator in Buffalo County.

Chef Jamie Oliver has a passion for teaching children how to eat healthier. His “Smashed Salad” recipe was one way he introduced fresh fruits and vegetables to young children. This adaptation uses a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Select the fruits and vegetables your family enjoys and have fun!

Super Smash SaladSalad in a Bag


  • 1 apple, cored, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into 8 pieces (or handful baby carrots)
  • 1 cucumber, remove seeds, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 handful of radishes, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 handful of cooked baby beets (canned beets can also be used)


  1. Place the apple, carrot, cucumber, radishes, and beets into a large self-closing freezer plastic bag. Seal the bag and gently hit with a rolling pin.
  2. Open the bag and break up any larger pieces. To prevent choking, avoid serving food that is as wide as a nickel or wider. Pour into a serving bowl.
  3. Add a little of your favorite dressing and gently toss together — remember to dress it lightly, you can always add more dressing. Enjoy!

Tips:  Smash beets after the other vegetables to prevent them from coloring all the vegetables. The cucumber and apple can be peeled to make them eaiser to break apart.

Tips for Cooking with Children

  • Don’t try to cook with children when you are in a hurry – choose a time when you can enjoy the experience.
  • Start with simple recipes (less than five ingredients) so your child can see fast results and not get impatient waiting.
  • Children will be messy. Allow extra time for clean-up.
  • Read through the recipe and decide which steps are appropriate for your child’s skill level. You want your child to have a positive experience in the kitchen


  1. Kids in the Kitchen, Clemson Cooperative Extension,  
  2. Practice Choking Prevention, Team Nutrition, Provider Handbook for the Child and Adult Care Food Program,