10 Recipes For Healthy Cooking With Kids Of All Ages - 2 Dads with Baggage
father with a toddler boy cooking. A man with his son making vegetable salad. Top view.

10 Recipes For Healthy Cooking With Kids Of All Ages

What does healthy cooking with kids even mean? Is it possible to achieve? Won’t it cost me my whole paycheck? We get it! You have questions. Luckily, we have some answers.

As we have been doing this fatherhood thing for two decades (gasp!) we’ve learned a thing or two about how to get kids to eat well…and live to tell the story. There are a few hard truths we have learned along the way.

Single father with son baking at home and looking through the oven glass
Photo credit: Martin-dm

6 Healthy Eating Truths Our Kids Have Taught Us

  1. If it doesn’t LOOK good, they won’t eat it. They don’t care how delicious it tastes.
  2. Kids love to eat what they have helped cook.
  3. It is important to try to understand any eating differences that come up instead of ruling the kitchen like a dictator. (When our daughter became a vegetarian, we learned this the hard way.)
  4. Taste buds do change. You have to keep trying to get them to eat healthy food. Maybe one day they will like it.
  5. Vegetable gardening, or simply growing food or herbs in a pot on the window sill, is an amazing yet subtle push to get kids interested in healthy cooking.
  6. Kids are never, ever too old to want a delicious home-cooked meal (which can also be packed with good-for-you foods).
Son is helping mother to prepare pumpkin pie. American family. Single mother. Household chores for kids.
Photo credit: Lordn

Why is Healthy Cooking with Kids Important?

There are lots of reasons why healthy cooking with kids is so important. One of the top reasons for us is that it can give them a better idea of what goes in the food we are putting on their plate. They can see the ingredients one by one. Using their other senses, they can stimulate their naturally curious minds to feel and smell and see the meal being prepared. They can get to experience the meal, rather than simply be forced to eat it on demand.

Latina girl preparing a dessert, using a mandrel with the same color in a kitchen.
Photo credit: Gerardo Hultrón

5 Reasons Healthy Cooking With Kids Should Be On Your To Do List

Check out some other reasons to get cooking with your kids.

  1. Cooking together helps kids feel connected. They will be more connected to you as well as your culture and shared history. 
  2. Kids who cook with their parents better understand the time, care and preparation needed to get a meal on the table. You may find you have more appreciative and grateful kids!
  3. It is amazing how much kids can learn from cooking. This is especially true if you have a child who is more of a hands-on learner. Math lessons are practically built in!
  4. Cooking together creates memories. These years we have with our kids are fleeting. It doesn’t seem that way when you are in the thick of it, but take it from us – they go fast. Make the most of the time you have under one roof.
  5. By practicing healthy cooking with kids, you are teaching them a life skill they won’t forget. Give them the tools they need to thrive once they leave the nest.
A group of elementary age children are learning how to cook in the kitchen. They are wearing aprons and chefs hats and are testing food.
Photo credit: Fatcamera

What Should I Cook With My Kids?

There are thousands of recipes specifically geared toward cooking with children. But don’t get overwhelmed. Don’t overthink it. Have them help you make the things you want them to eat. Here are some healthy items you can make together:

  • Smoothies 
  • Salads
  • Veggies and dip
  • Eggs
  • Pancakes
  • Soup

Honestly, the list is endless. Have your kids help you decide what to make. They may surprise you with what they are interested in trying. 

Little child preparing dough for baking. Small hands kneading dough and rolled dough with a rolling pin on the table. Kids hands, some flour, wheat dough and rolling-pin on the dark table. Cooking.
Photo credit: Maksym Belchenko

10 Healthy(ish) Recipes Kids Can Make (and will eat)

We have enjoyed cooking with our two girls since they were little. At first, they would just help us wash the fruits and vegetables. When they got older and we could trust them with a knife, they would be wonderful sous chefs helping us get everything cut up for any of our recipes. After they got to be teens it was fun to see them show off their skills and whip up something for the family all by themselves.

(We’ve got to say though that it is also a little sad. Wasn’t it just yesterday we were making sure they didn’t touch a hot pan?!?!)

Together our family has made hundreds of recipes over the years. Heck I even wrote a cookbook! (You can buy it here if you’re interested.)  There are a few dishes I continue to make which are healthier than most and taste absolutely delicious.

These are 10 of our favorites: 

1.Stuffed mushrooms

This stuffed mushrooms recipe is so easy and fast!

2. Vegan Apple crisp

Christmas place setting with vegan apple crisp recipe topped with vanilla ice cream
This vegan dessert recipe is so delicious and festive.

3. Italian Stuffed Zucchini

Plated Italian stuffed zucchini plated with roasted cherry tomatoes
Plated and ready for your dining pleasure!

4. Pasta With Zucchini Blossoms

5. Pistachio Pudding Cake

Pistachio Pudding Cake with Green Whipped Cream Frosting and salted pistachios
Pistachio Pudding Cake for St. Patrick’s Day

6. Yogurt Parfait Breakfast Popsicles

Yogurt Parfait Popsicles are full of fun and flavor. Photo courtesy of Jamonkey.com)

7. Roasted Lemon Chicken

plate of roasted lemon chicken with green beans and pasta
Serve this Roasted Lemon Chicken recipe with green beans and some farfalle pasta with cream and poppy seeds.

8. White Chicken Chili 

bowl of white chicken chili topped with tomato salsa, sour cream, cheese, green onions and avocado
This recipe for White Chicken Chili is hands-down the best we’ve ever tasted

9. Chicken and Rice Bake

freshly cooked Healthy Chicken & Rice Bake with Broccoli Recipe right from the oven
This Chicken and Rice Bake will warm even the coldest heart

10. Italian Meatloaf

Italian Meatloaf is surprisingly easy to make.

Health Cooking With Kids is Not a Chore

Healthy cooking with kids shouldn’t be a chore. You should not feel obligated. Some days you don’t have the time, patience or inclination to cook with your kids. That’s OK too! Try to find time when you can though. The memories you create when cooking with your kids will last a lifetime. Even if it is only a few times a year!

 

 

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