There are a million reasons why moms should stock up on kid-friendly recipes and get kids cooking. Teaching them about different cuisines can be a yummy history or geography lesson, while learning to measure flexes their math skills. Even more important, with the prevalence of childhood obesity and processed foods, cooking encourages healthy eating habits. According to a 2012 study by the University of Alberta, “Children who help cook at home are more likely to enjoy fruits and veggies than kids who don’t cook.”
We’re sold! So we’ve found 10 easy recipes for kids to start you off on a family cooking adventure.
1. Mexican Pizza Lasagna This scrumptious dish from Peas & Crayons, “Tastes like a Mexican pizza. Looks like a lasagna!” Healthy corn tortillas, black beans and enchilada sauce take the place of fattening pasta, cheese and tomato sauce. Layer the ingredients like a lasagna and bake it in the oven. Get the kids involved in choosing the filling ingredients and assembling it for cooking.
2. Black Rice & Guava Salad with Basil Lime Vinaigrette This tasty dish has it all. Guava is loaded with nutrients like vitamins A and C as well as folate, potassium and fiber. The black rice adds a dash of unexpected color, which is always a hit with kids, and it’s easy for little helpers to prepare.
3. BBQ Chicken Calzones Here’s another recipe that you can modify to suit your taste. Kids will have no trouble putting it all together and it’s perfectly portable if you’re on the go.
4. Couscous Salad with Chickpeas, Tomato & Mint We love brilliant kid-friendly recipes like this no-cook Couscous Salad from Jessica Seinfeld. It’s super simple, super tasty and it only takes 10 minutes!
5. Ham, Cheese & Spinach Muffins How many kid-friendly recipes are easy enough for a 2-year-old (with supervision) to prepare? These savory muffins are perfect to pop in a lunchbox and they’re an excellent way to get picky eaters to learn to love spinach.
6. Salad in a Jar It’s always challenging to get kids to eat their salad. Sometimes all it takes is playful packaging. The jar makes it fun and portable. The kids can choose what ingredients they want in their salads and this recipe offers suggestions for safe ways of cutting softer foods using a butter knife and kids’ scissors.
7. Cheesy Chicken Taquitos You truly can never have too many recipes for finger foods when you’ve got little ones. Of course, they’re all finger foods up to a certain age. This healthier baked version is just as crispy and delicious as fast food taquitos and they’re awesome with guacamole or your favorite dip.
8. Chocolate Strawberry Pancakes If you’re having trouble getting the kids excited about cooking, these Chocolate Strawberry Pancakes are the perfect enticement. This recipe uses mostly dry ingredients so kids can do all the measuring and mixing. These may not be low-cal, but they’re made with wholesome, natural ingredients.
9. Hard-Boiled Egg Faces This is one easy recipe for kids that invites you to play with your food. It’s so simple, hard-boiled egg slices on toast with carrots and cucumbers to make the faces, but so much fun. You can have even more fun by adding colorful condiments like mustard or ketchup.
10. Turkey Lettuce Wraps These Turkey Lettuce Wraps are made with ground turkey, water chestnuts, mushrooms and soy sauce for an Asian flavor. Served in a lettuce leaf and topped with bean sprouts and carrots, this makes a colorful plate that kids will love.Photo 10 courtesy of Food Network.com