Kids in the Kitchen
By Abigail Natenshon
Author of When Your Child Has An Eating Disorder  empoweredkidZ   

Food and food preparation need not be a mystery for kids. We need to eat in order to live; we need to eat healthfully in order to live healthfully. Healthy eating entails eating varied, balanced, nutritionally-dense meals and snacks throughout the day.  Though there are no “bad” foods, we know that nutritionally-dense foods are more easily used by the body to grow strong bones, muscles, blood, and brain cells. As a child, you need to learn which foods and snacks are more nutritious for you and which are less so. Learning to feed oneself in a healthy way is an important and natural part of living.

Children need to become adept at choosing, combining and preparing nutritious foods for themselves, their siblings and friends when parents are not available, and parents need to make sure to stock their pantries and refrigerators with these foods for their hungry offspring.


Let’s look at some easy, quick and healthful snacks that even very young children can make and enjoy all by themselves:

  • Peanut butter on crackers
  • Cheese on crackers
  • Apples with peanut butter
  • Baked apples with cinnamon and raisons and, if you like, Marshmallow Fluff
  • Washed raw vegetables, fresh fruits, or dried fruits
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese slices or sticks
  • Soup in a cup
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cereal and milk
  • Leftovers from the night before
  • Pre-washed and cut bagged salads with dressing
  • Nuts, sunflower seeds, trail mix
  • Hummus

Kids enjoy becoming active participators in the process of healthy food preparation, of choosing menus, creating shopping lists, and in going to the grocery store with parents to assist with the shopping. (You would be amazed at how many exotic, interesting and delicious fruits and vegetables may be still unknown to you when you become familiar with your local market’s produce department!)  Some children may even become capable of getting dinner started before busy parents get home from work. If your parents don’t want you at the grill or at the stove for safety reasons, think about becoming the meal planner, the table setter, the vegetable washer and cutter-upper, or the clean -up brigade.  You may also find it fun to pick up a cookbook now and then to see what looks yummy to you; your parents will be interested to know what kinds of foods you prefer as you grow older and your tastes become more varied.

empoweredkidZ provides the voice and guidance you need to cultivate what’s best for your body, based on what you body needs, not on what society dictates.


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