I’m always thinking I want my kids to be more involved in the kitchen. The reality is that I quickly become too impatient and do it myself. I must have a healthy cooking project or plan!
In the spirit of helping our kids develop healthy cooking skills, and after the sugar rush of the holidays, the kids started off the year with a “healthy lunch” project.
I got the idea from a book that explained ideas for Project Based Learning. The general thought is that children learn best through hands on projects that are relevant to real world scenarios. Through PBL, kids learn through doing and also feel as though they are making a difference at the same time.
The Healthy Cooking Project
We started the project off by reading three books from the library (linked below) about healthy foods and eating. We had fun discussing the books and what kinds of vegetables and fruits we didn’t know about.
The kids were then in charge of creating a healthy lunch for the family. The only rule was that each lunch needed to include at least two vegetables and one fruit. We brainstormed ideas together, and then I took my kids to Sprouts with me and they picked the ingredients they needed to put together their meals.
What They Prepared
My 7 year old chose to prepare a turkey sandwich, salad with fixings, and blackberries.
The 4 year old chose to make carrot soup, a sandwich, and cut up apples.
The kids helped each other and really worked on their cooking skills. Overall I was really pleased at how enthusiastic they were and how much they learned about preparing healthy foods.
I loved this healthy cooking project so much that I plan to do more variations in the future. This was a great way to get them involved in the kitchen and give them something to look forward to. When they get a few years older, I would love to add a budget element as well. I will give them each a set amount of money that they could use to buy their ingredients. They could then use the ads to buy healthy foods on sale and see how much they can get for their money. It’s some great real world experience with handling money.
An Unexpected Bonus
As an added perk, after reading the books, they were really encouraged to try new vegetables. While at the store the kids picked out several new vegetables to try for future meals. Now I just have to figure out what to do with that eggplant!
For Further Resources
Project Based Learning Made Simple by April Smith
The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbon
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food (I tried to skip the part about getting “chunky” and just focused on healthy bodies)
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert