Cooking with your Kids Lesson One: Assembling Tacos

15916341_SMany parents want their children to eat healthfully as well as learn the basics of making a meal. But it’s hard to figure out how or even when to start. In the midst of getting dinner ready, dealing with homework and other responsibilities, teaching your child to cook can go by the wayside. Here are a few suggestions to get started easily.

Choose simple foods your children already like. Do your kids like hot dogs or hamburgers? Perhaps they love Mexican or Italian foods. They’re much more likely to want to help make meals that they enjoy.

Focus on assembly rather than more complex tasks. Your six-year-old probably shouldn’t be handling a sharp knife, but he or she could work with already-chopped vegetables. Children can also stir bowls – though not hot pots – and add ingredients.

Start with one meal. Tacos provide a good choice for a meal that is easy to assemble and are often a general favorite. Put the various ingredients into smaller bowls with spoons or forks so that it is easy to select each item. You may want to use hard shells because they are easier to coordinate while filling.

In addition to various favorites, over time you might want to include some healthful additions such as the raw peppers shown here. Select several colors to make them more inviting.

You may find that initially your children will pile on the cheese and sneer at the vegies, but consider asking them to take at least one piece of everything available. Creating meals that involve some interaction before eating is a great way to introduce your children to the pleasures or preparing food, not just eating it.