Kids in the Kitchen – Monday Cooking Tip #7: Cook It Yourself

By Diana K. Rice, The Kids Cook Monday staff dietitian KE-special-feature 

With one or more kids, surely you are no stranger to incessant requests for this toy or that movie or staying up late or eating such-and-such food. While being firm in your answers and declining most requests that are not in your child’s best interest is important, when it comes to food, you may be able to use their requests as an educational opportunity.

Try a spin on author Michael Pollan’s now famous food rule, “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” I don’t necessarily recommend that kids be granted the liberty to eat all the junk food they want, no matter who cooked it. Still, seeing and helping with all of the work that goes into making some of their less-healthy favorites – rather than grabbing a treat off a convenience store shelf – can help kids gain a new appreciation for indulging in the food. Plus, making your own versions of the foods they crave allows you to control the ingredients and serve a healthier version.

So next time your kids beg and plead, tell them “Sure. Let’s make it together.” As a family, pore over your cookbooks, Pinterest or the Kids Cook Monday website to find a healthy take on the item. You’ll not only be making a healthier choice, you’ll also gain valuable quality time together. And who knows – maybe your kids will think twice about asking for junk food next time around!

Diana Rice

Diana K. Rice, RD is a registered dietitian on staff with The Kids Cook Monday, a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns at The Kids Cook Monday
In her role as RD and recipe editor, Diana writes and speaks on the many benefits of introducing children to culinary and nutrition education in the home environment and works to provide parents and educators with high-quality resources to aid in the process. She is also an advocate for the many social and health benefits of regular family dinners. At The Monday Campaigns, Diana also contributes to the organization’s largest initiative, Meatless Monday.

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