The holiday season is a time for family, for enjoying family traditions, and perhaps the best part — cooking those seasonal recipes that you only get to make a few times each year. Cooking with your child is a great chance to share your values and teach them important life skills. Follow these tips to make the most of your time with your child in the kitchen.
- Look for ways to make your favorite holiday recipes a little healthier. Try our recipe for Better for You Bread Pudding that uses low-fat milk and whole grain bread. Talk to your child about the value of eating colorful fruits and vegetables while you prepare Mom’s No Cook Cranberry Salad together.
- Give your child specific tasks so that he or she can practice math skills by measuring ingredients. The kitchen can be a great place to reinforce skills learned in school without feeling like homework. The reward: you and your child can enjoy what you have created together!
- Make kitchen time active time! Put away the electric mixer and combine your ingredients by hand. Instead of using your favorite kitchen gadgets, roll up your sleeves and don’t be afraid to work up a sweat kneading, mixing, blending, or chopping. If you’re preparing a hot dish, do something active together while it bakes in the oven to work up an appetite. Take a walk in your neighborhood or play a game that keeps you on your feet, like charades.
- Be mindful of kitchen safety. Instead of sneaking tastes of raw cookie batter (raw eggs can carry the bacteria salmonella), keep healthy snacks on hand like baby carrots to have something else to munch on. If you’re cooking with young children, assign them tasks like measuring out ingredients or setting the table that don’t put their little fingers in harm’s way.
Remember that holiday cooking doesn’t have to mean lots of gravy and butter that can cause weight gain and make your family feel sluggish. Look for holiday recipes that are chock-full of vegetables, use light sauces (or no sauce), and make more healthful substitutions when you can. For example, try swapping applesauce for oil when baking and use skim milk products whenever you can, like our Healthier Egg Nog recipe calls for.
What’s your favorite healthy recipe to prepare with your child around the holidays? Let us know in the comments section below.