Getting Kids Involved in the Kitchen

By Lauren Wills, Manager of Essential Eating

Starting from a young age, inspiring children to shop, cook, and prepare food can set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating. It can be fun and rewarding to involve kids in meal preparation.

Here are 4 tips for getting your kids involved:


1.  Assign age appropriate activities

Age 2-3: Wash produce

Age 3-4: Mixing batter, mashing potatoes

Age 4-6: Measuring ingredients, setting table

Age 6-8: Assemble snacks or simple breakfasts

Age 8-12: Help with meal planning, pack lunches

2.  Make them feel like part of the process

Ask kids to identify their favourite foods or a recipe they would like to make.

Shop for groceries together; having children pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try.


3.  Get excited!

Show your enthusiasm about healthy eating and involving children in the kitchen

It will be messier and more time consuming to involve children but it will be worth it. Try not to cry over spilled milk.

4.  Keep it fun!

Try a themed food night (i.e. Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday). Build your own: pizza, sundaes, trail mix, smoothies, etc.


Simplifying School Lunches

  • Take advantage of convenience foods: hummus, unsweetened apple sauce, individual yogurt, cheese, mini pitas, etc.

  • Shake it up! Try cutting new foods into fun shapes using cookie cutters. Try varying the colours and the textures at lunch to make meals more engaging for kids.

  • Chop & Wash: Prepare produce at the beginning of the week, to reduce lunch prep time in the evenings.


Aim to choose one item from each food group                     


  • Raw vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.)

  • Cooked leftover vegetables (broccoli, stir fry vegetables, etc.)

  • Vegetable soup

  • Salad


  • Fresh fruit (strawberries, apples, pears, etc.)

  • Frozen fruit mix

  • Unsweetened dried fruit

  • Unsweetened canned fruit


  • Leftover meat, fish, poultry

  • Eggs

  • Greek yogurt, cheese, milk

  • Beans, lentils, chickpeas

  • Nut butter/alternative

Grains/ Starches

  • Whole grain muffin

  • Oatmeal

  • Potatoes/sweet potatoes

  • Whole grain bread

  • Rice, pasta, quinoa

  • Whole grain crackers, wraps

  • Whole what English muffin, pita

For more information on how to set children up for a lifetime of healthy eating


Phone: 613-828-8586

Visit: 16-2150 Robertson Rd. Bells Corners

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