Healthy Recipes Your Kids Can (Safely) Make Themselves
Ask just about any parent if they’d like to have one less thing to do today and you’re bound to hear a pretty enthusiastic “Yes!” But when it comes to tackling a to-do list, it can be difficult to delegate; your spouse or partner likely has an equally lengthy list of responsibilities and your children can’t pay bills, do laundry, or cook dinner. Or can they? Though children should never be left in the kitchen completely unsupervised, there are a surprising number of recipes your child can make without your help, giving you more time to focus on the rest of your tasks.
Though asking your children to make a meal for themselves won’t take dinner prep completely off your list of things to do, asking your kids to make their own breakfast, lunch, or snacks will certainly create more time, and asking them to lend a hand at dinner time can help you get a meal on the table more quickly. As an added bonus, your children will have fun while learning valuable lessons about food, cooking, and taking responsibility.
In order for your kids to cook for themselves, you’ll have to do a little bit of planning. You may have to rearrange a few things in the kitchen so that the necessary ingredients and tools are safely within your child’s reach (and unsafe items are out of reach) and you may need to chop a vegetable or two (leave them in the refrigerator in a resalable container so that your kids can use them when they’re ready), but with just a few minutes’ worth of prep work your kids can make themselves healthy, no-cook meals and snacks whenever they’re hungry.
If you’re ready to let your kids cook for themselves a few times each week, we’ve got some ideas to help get you started. Your children won’t be using the oven or any sharp knives for these recipes, but be sure to stay nearby and keep your kids safe by checking on them occasionally as they assemble their meals.
Let your kids make their own lunch; they can spread hummus onto a tortilla with a spoon and then add pre-cut vegetables like carrots or cucumber before rolling up their super-healthy and fun-to-make meal.
Breakfast is a breeze thanks to overnight oats. Give your kids a measuring scoop and have them add one scoop of rolled oats (don’t use quick-cooking oats) to a resealable jar. Then have them fill the scoop with milk (or a non-dairy alternative like almond milk) and add it to the jar as well. Their favorite toppings go in next (peanut butter, honey, sliced bananas, etc.), then the jar is sealed and stored in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning your oatmeal will be ready to eat — no cooking required!
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.