Megan Callahan, MS, RD, LD
Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian
August 15, 2020
Would you like help with developing confident and healthy kids? Lead your kids to the kitchen! August is national Kids Eat Right Month and it’s the perfect time to help your children gain skills in the kitchen and, in turn, create healthy eating habits plus nutritional benefits. Helping your kids in the kitchen provides an opportunity for children to learn about making choices, problem solving, responsibility, planning, safety, cleanliness, listening and following directions.
Almost every aspect of learning can be incorporated into cooking. For instance, measuring out ingredients can help math skills, and watching water boil can be considered a science project. Children are more likely to try food if they helped prepare it. It helps build their self-esteem by allowing them to see and taste their results, and they feel a sense of pride when they see others enjoying what they have helped create. It is also an opportunity to spend quality time with the family that is often rare in our fast-paced culture.
Use this age-appropriate cooking skills guide to help you navigate the kitchen with your kids:
• Children 2 and under: Should be kept a safe distance from the food preparation using high chairs, safety gates or playpens. Make sure that there is nothing that they can climb onto such as cabinets or countertops. Remove tablecloths or hanging towels to help prevent the child from pulling hot items onto themselves.
• 3-year-olds: Tear lettuce, wash fruits and vegetables, stir ingredients and pour liquids.
• 4-year-olds: Open packages, grease pans, peel hard-boiled eggs, mash potatoes with a fork and snip herbs with dull scissors.
• 5-6-year-olds: Cut soft foods with a blunt knife, set the table and measure ingredients.
• 7-8-year-olds: Roll and shape dough, use a whisk to beat ingredients and locate ingredients in the kitchen.
• 9-12-year-olds: Use a vegetable peeler, assemble a salad, prepare simple recipes, shred cheese and vegetables, use an oven (with adult supervision), and use a sharp knife (with adult supervision).
• 13-17-year-olds: Able to independently prepare recipes with multiple ingredients.
Check out these two kid-friendly recipes featured in the August issue of Seasons magazine.
Chicken Salad Space Rocket Burritos
All You Need:
¼ cup Hy-Vee plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup Hy-Vee bottled ranch salad dressing
1½ cups chopped Hy-Vee rotisserie chicken breast
⅓ cup chopped celery
2 tbsp finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tbsp finely chopped green onion
5 (8-in.) Hy-Vee burrito-size flour tortillas
Decorations (radish slices, yellow bell pepper strips, Hy-Vee Cheddar cheese slices, avocado slices, Roma tomato strips, Hy-Vee bottled ranch salad dressing, honeydew melon slices and Hy-Vee Swiss cheese slices)
All you do:
- Stir together yogurt and ranch salad dressing. Stir in chicken, celery, bell pepper and green onion for chicken salad.
- Place a tortilla on a work surface. Trim one end to get a straight bottom edge for the rocket; discard trim. For top of rocket, cut tortilla into a point shape; reserve trimmings.
- Spoon ¼ cup chicken salad onto right side, just below center of tortilla. Fold right edge of tortilla over filling; roll tortilla to form rocket shape. Cut fins out of reserved trimmings; place on the sides of rocket. To decorate, add radish slice windows and pepper strip band on the rocket and Cheddar cutouts on the fins. Place avocado slices, some of remaining chicken salad and tomato strips beneath the rocket for flames. Pipe ranch dressing smoke trails below the flames.
- Repeat to make four more rocket burritos. Decorate around each rocket with honeydew melon star cutouts, Swiss cheese moon cutout and piped dots of ranch dressing.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 270 calories, 12g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 25mg cholesterol, 640mg sodium, 27g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 2g sugar (0g added sugar), 13g protein. Daily Values: Vitamin D 0%, Calcium 2%, Iron 0%, Potassium 0%.
Pizza Animal Pancakes
Serves 7 (1 pancake each)
All You Need:
1 cup Hy-Vee all-purpose baking mix
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
½ tsp Hy-Vee Italian seasoning
1 Hy-Vee large egg, beaten
¾ cup Hy-Vee 2% reduced-fat milk
½ cup Hy-Vee Short Cuts chopped tricolor bell peppers
Hy-Vee canola oil
½ cup Gustare Vita pizza sauce
1 cup Hy-Vee finely shredded mozzarella & provolone cheese
All you do:
- Combine baking mix, cornmeal and Italian seasoning in a large bowl. Stir together beaten egg and milk in a small bowl. Add milk mixture to baking mix mixture; stir just until combined (batter will be lumpy). Fold in peppers.
- Preheat broiler on HIGH. Line two large baking sheets with foil; set aside.
- Preheat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with oil. Drop ¼-cup portions of batter onto hot griddle. Spread batter, if necessary. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbles break on surface. Turn and cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until golden.
- Place pancakes on prepared baking sheets. Spread about 1 tablespoon pizza sauce on each pancake. Top with cheese if making frogs or lions.
- Broil 4 in. from heat for 1 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Decorate as desired.
PEPPERONI FROGS: Add Hy-Vee original pepperoni slices, Hy-Vee stuffed manzanilla olives and green and red bell pepper.
HAM, PINEAPPLE & PEPPERONI LIONS: Add yellow bell pepper rings, Hy-Vee original pepperoni slices, Hy-Vee Deli ham slices, pineapple chunks, Hy-Vee original pepperoni slices, and Hy-Vee pitted black and green olives.
MARGHERITA BUNNIES: Add fresh mozzarella slices, fresh basil leaves, Hy-Vee pitted black and green olives, cherry tomato slice and green onion tops.
Nutrition Facts per pancake: 180 calories, 8g fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 40mg cholesterol, 450mg sodium, 20g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 3g sugar (0g added sugar), 7g protein. Daily Values: Vitamin D 0%, Calcium 10%, Iron 6%, Potassium 2%.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.