Cooking with kids, and showing them how to prepare healthy and delicious whole-food, plant-based meals, has so many benefits. They learn to read recipes, follow instructions, and carry out basic food preparation. There are also the less tangible, infinitely rich benefits of working side by side with parents or loved ones: learning that food matters, meal times matter, and you matter. Here are five tips for cooking with kids, and eleven simple recipes to get started.
For more fun cooking inspiration, check out our favorite easy plant-based recipes.
5 Tips for Cooking with Kids
1. Don’t try too hard
Relax. Enjoy the experience. Being together is half the fun. Show them your tricks and learn new ones together. A love of preparing great-tasting nutritious food sets best when allowed to simmer over time. No pressure required.
2. Never too young to start
As long as they’re supervised and given age-appropriate tasks, it’s never too early to have children in the kitchen. There’s always something they can do. When my daughter was a year and a half, she loved putting sticks into chocolate-banana fruit pops.
3. Keep it clean
Cleanup is part of food preparation, so once young people are old enough, expect them to be part of that too. Putting things away as you use them will keep your kitchen halfway clean. But, let’s face it: It’s a messy business. Try and be relaxed about it, too.
4. Be adventurous
There are plenty of kid-friendly vegan meals, including pizza and mac ‘n’ cheese. These are a good place to start, but don’t stop there. Get into salads, soups, risottos, and everything else. It’ll stimulate interest in new flavors and may ignite interest in foods they would otherwise avoid.
5. Let go of the reins
Food is front and center of most family festivities. But when it comes to entertaining, it’s easy to take control of everything. At the next family celebration consider letting younger family members take on a role, maybe even taking charge of one of the dishes. You might be surprised at what treasured family rituals evolve.
11 Simple WFPB Recipes to Get Started
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Ready to get started? Check out Forks Meal Planner, FOK’s easy weekly meal-planning tool to keep you on a healthy plant-based path. To learn more about a whole-food, plant-based diet, visit our Plant-Based Primer.