Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day


Today is National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day!

At Nourishing Hope, I encourage parents to get their child(ren) cooking so they become invested in their nutrition and develop a love of trying new foods and eating healthfully. 

As a matter of fact, I had one of the parents in my Nourishing Hope for Healing Kids program share this picture of her child in the kitchen in response to the changes their family was making as a result of my program! 

I love this! Seeing children embracing the diet that is right for their unique biochemistry and learning how foods can heal and contribute to their long-term health is the goal of the program and my work in general. 

And cooking is a great way to get them excited about nutrition and the nutritious food they are eating. In fact, cooking is a great strategy for helping picky eaters expand their eating habits.

Even young children can get engaged. 

Great skills for young children:

  • Shucking ears of organic corn
  • Breaking the ends off of green beans
  • Rinsing veggies and fruits
  • Pulling stems off of cherries
  • Peeling back the leaves of lettuce
  • Making “skewers” with various fruits for snack
  • Rolling out dough for cookies
  • Using cookie cutters to help cut out cookies
  • Scooping batter into muffin tins using a ¼ cup scoop
  • Peeling then cutting bananas with a butter knife
  • Rolling meatballs (gloves optional)

Great skills for pre-teens/teens (based on their ability, in addition to those above):

  • Chopping vegetables with supervision and based on their ability/safety
  • Peeling vegetables like carrots (for making carrot fries or just for salads) or cucumbers
  • Learning to work basic kitchen equipment like a blender safely (see my blog on Watermelon Popsicles where my daughter Ruby made the whole recipe herself!)
  • Making kale chips by rubbing them with oil and putting them in the oven
  • Separating egg whites and yolks
  • Scrambling and cooking eggs
  • Boiling gluten-free pasta
  • Cooking oatmeal
  • Cooking a burger on the stove
  • Practicing flipping pancakes
  • Grating vegetables (watch those knuckles!)

Of course children should always be supervised in the kitchen. But, kids from even a young age can begin to take ownership over their nutrition and usually that leads to better buy-in on getting them to actually eat as well!

Setting the table, folding napkins, making place cards/seating arrangements, making a fun centerpiece, and even helping carry dishes to the sink or for the older kids loading a dishwasher or washing dishes can be great opportunities to get more familiar with the kitchen in general.

Some of my best memories are with my daughter in the kitchen and I would love to hear (or see if you want to share) the fun experiences you have in the kitchen with your kids. 

So, in honor of National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day, get your child(ren) into the kitchen today!

Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant who received her master’s degree in medical nutrition with distinction from Arizona State University. She is also a published nutrition researcher and has specialized in complex neurological conditions, particularly autism spectrum disorders and ADHD for over 20 years. Julie is the award winning author of Nourishing Hope for Autism, co-author of a study proving the efficacy of nutrition and dietary intervention for autism published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrients, and also the founder of Download her free guide, 12 Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning, and Behavior.


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