Back to school is coming and with it a more strict routine that means planning ahead for dinnertime. Not only do you have to account for everyone’s schedules but you may have limited time to get dinner on the table each night. Quick meals and convenience foods are great in a pinch, but healthy dinners take some time and effort. In addition, if you’re like me you want dinners to be family time. Not just at the table, but in the kitchen, too. After all kids need to learn to cook meals for themselves so when we launch them into the world they won’t rely on pizza and cold cereal. 😉
While teaching kids to cook is an important life skill it’s a skill many families overlook with busy back to school schedules, after school activities, and not a lot of time. In an effort to help you get your kids cooking I’ve partnered with Horizon Organics to share tips and ideas.
4 Tips to Get Kids Cooking Healthy Meals
1. Plan Ahead
Making a meal plan is the key to getting kids involved, eating healthier, and saving big on your grocery bill. I started my year-long meal plan several years ago to help us save more and be more accountable with meal planning. We’ve saved thousands each year with it! You can use the templates I shared to help you craft your family’s favorite meals.
Sit down with your family and have everyone contribute to the list of their favorite meals. By focusing on family favorites you can fill out your menu quickly and the empty days can be used to try new foods or eat up your yummy leftovers.
2. Look for Kid-Friendly Recipes
Any recipe can be made by kids but we’ve found that kid-friendly recipes tend to be more fun. Look for kid focused cookbooks for fun items or create your own ‘cookbook’ of family recipes.
Start with simple recipes like making eggs, boiling pasta, and pancakes. Kids will naturally develop recipes into something fun by adding items you may have never considered.
For instance, my daughter once took our tried and true family pancake recipe and turned it into s’mores pancakes with the addition of mini chocolate chips and marshmallows.
3. Assign Each Kid a Night to Cook
Assigning one night a week where your child is in charge of the kitchen is a great way to get them involved. Even if they’re too little to cook the bulk of the meal they can help by gathering supplies, stirring pots, sprinkling on ingredients and so much more.
My kids are all 8 and over so they can each make a meal mostly on their own at this point. I may offer assistance with hard to reach ingredients or cutting up vegetables, but on those nights I’m more sous chef than head cook.
4. Keep Focused on Healthy Foods
Every person I know has food preferences, so when a kid asserts their preference for fries over green beans we just keep serving them. I’ve read that you need to serve the same thing numerous times to get kids to try something new, so that’s what we do. We look for ways to serve them a little differently, too like when my husband made ‘spider burgers’ for the kids. (just like the ones in the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2) If all else fails we also offer up the world’s best cover-up for any food-ketchup.
For more back to school tips, meal ideas, and coupons visit Horizon Organic’s Facebook page, their twitter page, get inspiration from their Pinterest page, and visit the Horizon Organic website for recipes and more.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.