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Let Kids Play with Their Food?

Posted by Rebecca Gates, Nutrition Information Assistant in Food and Nutrition
Aug 31, 2012

Whether in a school setting or at home, when you involve kids with food preparation, you open the door to a healthy future.  Kids learn that it’s fun and easy to create healthy meals and snacks.  They receive the benefits of fruits and vegetables as they explore different flavors and textures, and they gain knowledge and skills that will last a lifetime.

So, parents, let your kids dig in as you spend time together in the kitchen.  Teachers, use food to keep your students engaged while learning across several subjects. Need some suggestions? can help.

It’s so easy

Checkout’s newest video to see how easy it is for kids to create a build-it-yourself meal.  The video features a chef, who is also a registered dietitian, helping kids prepare a healthy and tasty meal of chicken (or fish) veggie packets and a simple, no-bake yogurt parfait dessert.

Even the youngest cooks can tear lettuce, wash vegetables, or mix ingredients.  As kids grow older, they will learn more about food preparation and safety and gain more confidence in the kitchen.  Nutrition in the Kitchen provides numerous resources on age-appropriate recipes and food safety.

Let them play

Let kids create masterpieces as they add new vegetables and fruits to their meals and snacks. Through play they will learn how the textures, colors and flavors boost their favorite dishes.  Our What’s in Food page has great resources that explain why healthy food is so good for you. Teachers, you can extend that learning by introducing related science concepts and expanding math and language skills.

Play with herbs and spices, too! You can liven up your recipes by using herbs and spices to add flavor, rather than relying on salt.  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting our intake of sodium, even for kids.

A Family that Shops Together

Take your kids to a market with you and let them pick a fruit or vegetable to cook with or have as a snack.  Farmers Markets are great places to shop with kids; this video shows why.  Spending time with your kids at the market and in the kitchen is a great way to build healthy food habits and memories that will last a lifetime!

Happy Cooking!

Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition