Children enjoy helping in the kitchen and often are more willing to eat foods they help prepare. Involve your child in planning and preparing some meals and snacks for the family. It is important that you give kitchen tasks appropriate for your child's age. Be patient as they gain new skills at different ages. Here are a few tips:
- 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 medium apple, gently rubbed under running water, cored, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 carrot, scrubbed with a clean vegetable brush, peeled and cut into 8 pieces (or a handful of baby carrots)
- 1 cucumber, gently rubbed under running water, seeds removed, cut into 8 pieces
- 5 radishes, scrubbed with a clean vegetable brush and cut into 4 pieces
- 5 cooked baby beets (canned beets can also be used)
- Wash hands with soap and water. 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.
- 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.
- Add a little of your favorite dressing and gently toss together — remember to dress it lightly, you can always add more dressing. Enjoy!
- 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!
- Smash beets after the other vegetables to prevent them from coloring all the vegetables. The cucumber and apple can be peeled to make them easier to break apart.
- Calories 78
- Total Fat .4g
- Sodium 65mg
- Total Carbohydrates 18g
- Fiber 3.4g
Kids in the Kitchen, Clemson Cooperative Extension
Reducing the Risk of Choking in Young Children at Mealtimes, United States Department of Agriculture
This article was originally written by Carol Schwarz. It was reviewed and updated in 2021.