Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why Your Kids Should Cook

Have you seen Wednesday's (9/26) Frederick News Post yet? Check out the Healthy Living supplement. I was lucky enough to be interviewed for an article. The topic? Healthy eating for kids.

Now this isn't too far of a stretch for me, because I've got 2 great kids of my own. But it was fun to be asked for words of wisdom. Bear in mind, I am the person whose son looked at her (after having a plate I had literally slaved over placed in front of him) and uttered the unforgettable words, "This is disgustin'." I consider it a great testament to my parenting skills that Benjamin is still around today.

To me it seems like healthier eating is a natural inclination these days, and I'm not talking sprouts and tofu here, though that would certainly be ok if that's your thing. I'm talking about branching out from more than just chicken nuggets. One of the coolest things that I've learned in owning a cooking school is that if they make it, they will more than likely try it.

I know you're stressed out and dinner is a hassle almost every night (shameless plug here, try our MTB sessions!), but wouldn't it be great if you could throw control of one dinner a week, heck, start with once a month, into your kid's hands. Be warned, the first meal will almost definitely contain fries and ice cream, but by getting your kids involved in the planning and the cooking, you give them a little ownership and a little pride. Any good chef tastes the food before it goes to the customer. Kids should be no exception.

How to get started? Let them plan the first meal, with your guidance of course. You can always add in a nice big salad to smooth out the rough edges. As you do this more and more frequently, start steering your child to a healthier option of a food they enjoy. Do they love chicken tenders? Make your own and bake them. It's actually pretty darn easy.

A great resource for kid-friendly recipes is This Disney owned site is tied to the magazine of the same name and is a solid resource. I'm also a fan of Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals for Kids. Say what you want about Rachael (no more EVOO, ever!), but she has pulled together a great cookbook targeted toward kids 4-17. She breaks it into sections based on age and increasing skill levels. You can get this for a reasonable price at my favorite cookbook website,

Looking for more tips on cooking with your kids? Check out our regular column in Frederick's Child magazine, distributed for free in Frederick County.

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