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Cooking with younger grandchildren

There's beginning to be an emphasis, not only on families cooking and eating together at home, but also on teaching children to cook. It's actually very empowering for your grandkids to learn how to cook; it's a step towards independence, and they will take those skills with them throughout their lives.  So, next time you and your grandchildren are stuck inside on a rainy day, why not organise a cookery lesson?

For younger kids, you'll want to begin with easy recipes. This helps build confidence and teaches basic skills. Here are some easy recipes that you can 'cook' with your grandkids without them ever having to come into contact with a hot stove...

1. Fruit and Cheese Kebabs (Kabobs, in the U.S.)

Healthy and sweet, fresh fruit appeals to lots of children, and cheese tends to be a kid favourite. Supervise the use of sharp skewers carefully; other than that, kids can get use their own ideas about how to make the kebabs. Put out bowls of various chopped fruits (frozen and canned are possibilities, too; just make sure that the fruits are not too soft to stick on a skewer or too hard to thread onto it) and some cheese cubes. Let your grandchildren thread together kebabs in whatever combinations they like. Fruits you might use include:
* Fresh or canned pineapple
* Banana chunks (slices should be at least 1/2-inch thick)
* Melon
* Strawberries
* Peaches

2. Tuna Salad

Prepare a tasty tuna salad with your younger grandchildren by preparing the simple ingredients beforehand. In separate containers, place:

  • 1 can drained tuna
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sweet pickle
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Let your grandchild mix all these ingredients together in another bowl. Then he/she can see how separate ingredients create something completely different when combined!

To take it a bit further, the child can then use the tuna salad to fill his/her own cucumber boat, tomato half, or sandwich.

3. Banana-Peanut Butter Balls

These make great snack food or a healthy dessert.

In a bowl, your grandchild can mash together 1 small, ripe banana and 1/2 cup of chunky peanut butter. He or she can then pour in 1/4 cup of flax meal and 1/4 cup of toasted wheat germ and stir it up. Both of you can form the mixture into balls about the size of marbles, and roll them in chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, or whatever you'd like. Put coated balls on a waxed-paper-covered tray and refrigerate until firm.

You can adjust this recipe to accommodate allergies and food preferences; you can use other nut butters and coatings if your grandchild has a peanut allergy, for instance.

4. Salad

Teach them about veggies early! Salads are a pretty forgiving medium, and children often enjoy the bright colours. Supervised tasks your grandkids can perform include:

  • Shredding carrots with a vegetable peeler
  • Tearing lettuce
  • Adding pre-chopped ingredients, such as onions, radishes, and/or tomatoes
  • Shredding cheese (supervised to avoid shredding little fingers) or sprinkling on pre-shredded cheese
  • Tossing the salad

You can also grow tasty sprouts with your grandchildren and add these to salads and sandwiches. Apply the salad assembly idea to dishes like tacos and pizza, too.

Have fun!


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