By: Lillian Lin-Levitan a recent ASU Nutrition student
Since Staying Home is the new normal for most of us during this global pandemic, many parents find themselves taking on the role of teacher for their kids. I’ve been trying to figure out how to best make homeschool work for us. Yes – we are provided a curriculum from the kid’s school which we follow. But we quickly discovered we needed to add some additional hands-on learning to the mix.
“Cooking Class” has been a great interactive learning time that has added benefits of encouraging healthy eating in kids – because cooking programs have been shown to positively influence children’s food choices, attitudes, and behaviors – which in turn results in reduced instances of diet-related diseases (1). Plus, it’s fun to have little helpers in the kitchen! It has been a great way to break up the day.
I’ve found the best time for cooking class is late morning – after a few traditional school lessons and before lunch. We all know that quarantine life has us limiting our trips to the grocery store, so I plan the “lessons” around what food we already have in the house, and the final product ends up feeding the family.
Sometimes the tasks delegated to the kids is as simple as measuring or chopping veggies. Sometimes the meal is more interactive and includes baking or stovetop cooking (supervised of course). It all depends on the day – I always try to be flexible, which I’ve found is key to making this activity enjoyable for us.
Below I’ve included a week’s worth of example foods that have worked well for us. You can use it as a jumping off point to create your own kid-friendly cooking experience!
Monday – Banana Bread Muffins
These are a great kid-friendly baking option. The kids do all of the measuring, pouring, and mixing. He’s also in charge of filling up the muffin tins.
Tuesday – Veggie Hummus Wraps
This is where the kids get their chopping practice. Use whatever veggies you have / like – we often use bell peppers and cucumbers. Then have them spread hummus on a tortilla, distribute the veggies, and wrap them up.
Wednesday – Blueberry Pancakes
Measuring, mixing, and pouring pancake batter are all great opportunities for the kids to help out.
Thursday – Personal Pizzas
These are a favorite in our house. Measuring ingredients for the dough, rolling pizzas out, and getting to choose the individual toppings are a hit with the kids.
Friday – Oatmeal Cookies
It’s fun for us to end the week with a treat!
- Hersch D, Perdue L, Ambroz T, Boucher JL. The impact of cooking classes on food-related preferences, attitudes, and behaviors of school-aged children: a systematic review of the evidence, 2003-2014. Preventing chronic disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4222785/. Published November 6, 2014. Accessed April 22, 2020.