One of the most important skills that parents can teach their children is to cook. Cooking is a lifelong ability that many lack, but would like to have!
Children who help in the kitchen are more likely to try new foods and eat more nutritious foods. As the child grows up, they are more likely to have a healthier diet and overall healthier lifestyle habits. Teaching children to cook can also extend to other life skills such as being able to budget since cooking at home often costs less compared to dining out!
So when and how can you get your kids involved in the kitchen? Follow this chart as a guide:
Please note these are general abilities and each child is different so there is not a defined age for these tasks. Some children may be able to do more at a younger age whereas other children may not be as active in the kitchen yet.
What is most important at the beginning is to start by getting your child interested in food and the kitchen and let them advance their cooking skills at a pace that works for them. Letting your child help pick out recipes or the veggie side is a great place to start! The younger they are, the more enthusiastic they will be to help and spark their interest. Making cooking and kitchen chores more fun, than seeming like work, will help keep children interested as they grow up.
Our stores offer Kids Crew programming to help engage parents and children in nutritious foods and healthy lifestyle habits.
Southwest Black Bean Lasagna
Source: Our Family Foods
- 12 whole grain lasagna noodles
- 2 tablespoons Our Family extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green or red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1-½ teaspoons Our Family chili powder
- 1-½ teaspoons Our Family dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon Our Family ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Our Family salt
- ½ teaspoon Our Family ground black pepper
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) Our Family black beans, no salt added and drained
- 1 can (15.25 ounces) Our Family whole kernel corn, no salt added and drained
- 4-¼ cups Our Family marinara pasta sauce
- 1 cup Our Family medium salsa
- ¾ cup Our Family sliced black olives
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 Our Family large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 cups Our Family shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend
- 2 cups Our Family ricotta cheese
- 2 cups Our Family shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup Our Family shredded Parmesan cheese
- Our Family sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°. Cook lasagna noodles as label directs.
- Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic, bell pepper and zucchini, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper, and cook 1 minute. Stir in black beans, corn, pasta sauce, salsa, olives and cilantro. Heat to a simmer and cook 3 minutes; remove from heat. In medium bowl, combine egg, 1-1/4 cups Jack cheese blend and remaining cheeses. (Invite children to help measure, add, and stir ingredients)
- In bottom of 13 x 9-inch baking dish, spread 1 cup bean mixture, and 1/3 cheese mixture. Repeat layers, ending with bean mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup Jack cheese blend. (Invite children to help scoop and make the layers)
- Cover dish with foil. Bake 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Serve topped with sour cream/Greek yogurt, if desired.
This medical and/or nutritional information is not intended to be a substitute for individual advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition."
STEPHANIE EDSON - REGIONAL WELLNESS SPECIALIST
Stephanie is an award-winning registered dietitian who believes in empowering every individual to make nutritious food choices to support a healthy lifestyle. She believes in the power of food as medicine and loves sharing about nutrition with others.