What can you do in the kitchen? “I can crack eggs and stir stuff. And I get to taste it!” - Charley, 8 “I can make cookies. Next I want to try cupcakes.” - Laila, 10 “I can stir. I’m going to make a meal for Mom.” - Luke, 9 HAVING REGULAR FAMILY DINNERS GIVES KIDS A SENSE OF STABILITY AND COMFORT I AND A BETTER CHANCE THEY’LL TRY THE BEETS. Start Cookin' “One of the best meals I can remember is when I was about 14,” says Meghan Daw, RD, LDN, Fresh Thyme Registered Dietitian. “Our favorite dish at the time was baked chicken with an apricot glaze. One day, my younger brother decided to make it all on his own. After about two hours and a pile of dirty dishes, my whole family sat down to the dinner. It smelled great and looked tasty, but as soon as we bit into the chicken we knew something was terribly wrong. It tasted like candied chicken! To be polite, we all said it was great. After dinner, my mom asked to see the ingredients. He pulled out a container of powdered sugar. He said, ‘I used a lot of this cornstarch to make it thick.’ No wonder the chicken was so sweet! We all call this the chicken catastrophe of 1999 and still bring it up today. Our lesson is that no matter how the meal was, it still was a great time to be with our family, share our day, and lead to memories and laughter for years to come.” That’s the risk—and the fun—of letting kids help cook. It helps kids build skills for the future and put them in touch with their foods. Picky eaters will dig in when they’ve had a hand in putting it on the plate. So make way for your kitchen helpers. And some family stories. Starting out: Read aloud from the recipe. Rinse fruit and veggies. Tear lettuce, snap beans, and shell peas. Set and clear the table. Stir ingredients. Use cookie cutters. Shape meatballs. Basic skills: Pour and measure ingredients. Crack eggs. Mix with a spoon or whisk. Add toppings. Cook soup. Flip pancakes. Knead dough. Prepare veggies. Operate small appliances. Keep growing: Add tasks as skills develop. Keep it fun and encouraging. Don’t worry about mistakes. It’s all part of learning together. Even if you get a little egg shell in your cake on occasion. 34 Fresh Thyme Crave | freshthyme.com 032-035 Fill up with Family.indd 34 8/14/17 11:53 AM