So you’ve decided to do a whole 30 meal plan with the WHOLE FAMILY. No, you’re not the only one and yes, it is totally doable! Whether you are in search of a complete meal plan or simply want a few kid-approved Whole 30 recipes to incorporate in your weekly dinners, I’ve got you covered, but first, let’s dive into the details and tips.
Have you been wondering at what age your kids can start helping out in the kitchen? What is appropriate and what isn’t for them to do? I have put together a list of age appropriate tasks for kids in the kitchen. This will help you teach your kid how to cook by age.
See my girl? She is 8. Little by little I’ve taught her basic kitchen skills. Sometimes, she assures me she doesn’t like “X” and I tell her that she still needs to help me make the recipe.
Bonus: she can read! She can slowly read the meal plan recipe and help me make our food.
Teaching Kids How To Cook
I believe that teaching our kids a new kitchen skill should not be done during bewitching hours. Instead, use the weekends and non rush-hour times. I’ve found that I’m more patient (and not as critical) when I’m more relaxed.
Here is a breakdown of some age appropriate kitchen tasks you can use when you are helping your kids cook!
Cooking Tasks for 2-3 Year Olds
At this age, kids need high supervision. Focus on basic tasks and they’ll do just fine. Toddlers can get involved in the kitchen with the following activities:
Setting the table
Learning to match the silverware as you empty the dishwasher
Using the salad spinner
Picking the leaves off fresh herb stems
Cooking Tasks for 4-5 Year Olds
Motor skills are more defined and they can focus better. This is a frustrating age for many parents because many kids will be doing the 2-3 age group while others the 6-7 -it depends how involved and interested they’ve been.
Work with your child to figure out what they are most interested in doing from each list and focus on things they can accomplish on their own, with minimal intervention from mom and dad. This is a great age to focus on independence while still doing many of the same tasks they were doing in the kitchen the year before.
Setting the table
Putting away pots and pans from the dishwasher or drying rack
Greasing pans (with help)
Cooking Tasks for 6-7 Year Olds
Fine motor skills are developed so they can take on more detailed work, like using measuring spoons and forming meatballs or nuggets. They still need a lot of guidance and reminders of where to keep their fingers during grating and peeling.
Some of the things you can teach them to do at this age are:
Dicing and mincing vegetables (use a pairing knife and start with soft foods like strawberries)
Peeling raw potatoes with a peeler
Slicing and scooping avocados
Using a microplane zester
Draining and rinsing canned beans
Pouring liquids into containers
Cooking Tasks for 8-9 Year Olds
This is my favorite age group. They can read! They can take on every task prior to this age group and teach new things based on their interest. You’ll have to decide if they are mature enough to work at the stove; but you can start with easy toaster oven type of recipes if not.
This age group can learn to do the following tasks in the kitchen:
Using a pizza cutter can opener
Scooping batter into muffin cups
Scraping down the batter
Using the stand mixer
Putting away leftovers
Rinsing dishes and loading the dishwasher
Make sandwiches and wraps
Chopping most foods (nothing much bigger than a paring knife or small serrated knife)
Kitchen Tasks for 10-12 Year Olds
This age group can usually work independently in the kitchen. Make sure they have learned basic kitchen skills and moved on up on skill level before they are left to make meals (even under supervision).
Rules still apply (and often need reminding) like use mittens and wash hands after touching chicken. Kids this age can even do basic stove tasks like scrambling eggs and flipping pancakes.
How To Teach Your Kids To Cook
One of the questions I’m often asked: what if I haven’t taught my kids kitchen basics in each age group? Don’t stress.
My suggestion is that regardless of when you start; teach with patience and be careful to not talk down to your kids when they are doing it wrong (I’m guilty of this). Talking “down” can be as simple as “let me show you” and… “hurry, let me take over” or as simple as our tone.
If you aren’t “feeling it” then skip the teaching moment. We can do it quicker and avoid any hurt feelings -trust me.
If you’ve got teenagers in the house they can make nearly all the recipes in our meal plans. Win-win.
I want to encourage you to teach your kids one skill each month. Just one.
Cooking along side our kids is a great opportunity to talk about life. It gives us the opportunity to connect and teach our kids about the things we find important (like our food and health).
Recipes For Kids To Cook By Themselves
You know, I love a simple meal, so most of the recipes you’ll find here on MOMables will be simple enough to get the kids involved.
One of the biggest perks of teaching kids to cook is that it encourages them to try whatever is on the table. This can be a great strategy to help your children be more adventurous with the food items they are willing to eat.
I love everything about this! Not only is my friend Katie empowering kids in the kitchen, but she’s using whole foods and introducing families to healthier meal options they can all enjoy together.
If you are looking for more? Be sure to check out my Broccoli Nuggets Recipe below. This is one that the kids absolutely LOVE to help with. From measuring ingredients and scooping them into place, there are a lot of hands-on tasks kids can do, and it’s even a recipe that will get a few extra veggies on their plate!
If you are doing the Family KickStart Challenge, a Whole30, or a Sugar Detox and need meal prep tips, you are at the right place. In this post, you are going to read about some of my shortcuts when it comes to making it easier to feed my family fresh foods, 3 meals per day, for 30 days!
Cutting out processed foods and sugars may seem like a simple task at first, but when you add eliminating grains, gluten, dairy, as well, it’s easy to go into kitchen overwhelm.
The reality is that the health benefits always outweigh the kitchen work -so it’s worth it!
And as you can see from the video below, I have a system of hacks when it comes to preparing food -check it out.
If you are doing the Family KickStart Program, you know many of these hacks from the prep sheets and no doubt, it helps that the work is written out in parts of what to do each day of the week to help you get ahead.
Whether you are doing Family KickStart, Whole30, or another wellness program, you’ve probably wondered, how can I save time when it comes to meal prep?
Meal preparation is the biggest problem when it comes to being able to succeed with one of these programs because most parents find themselves doing multiple meals for their family. The “adult” meal that fits the program and a “kid” meal that is healthy-ish to please the kids.
So for sure, you are spending more time in the kitchen -unless you are doing KickStart because I mean… who can turn away Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats or Chicken Burrito Bowls?!
It is true that preparing all 3 meals, 7 days a week for 4 plus people is a BIG job! However, it doesn’t have to be hard!
Being prepared with your food is vital in sticking to the plan. If you are prepared, you will save time, so it’s always best to find a routine in the kitchen that works for your family.
Whether it’s a special occasion, school bake-sale, or a major sweet tooth, sometimes we find ourselves in the mood to bake. But the truth is, that it’s important to know how to measure flour, so our treats come out perfect each time!
I mean, we’ve all had it happened, one time or another, where we bake something, and it’s too dense, it sinks, or it simply doesn’t come out like the photo in the recipe, right? Check out this quick video to show you how to measure flour and baking ingredients the right way.
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As you know, baking has gotten a reputation for being a tricky and a precise process that only the baking champions can achieve.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. As my Mother used to say, “If you can read you can bake.” I also want to add if you can measure you can bake!
Now, we have all had those moments of “where did I go wrong?” as we pull out volcanic cakes and cement cookies. But a lot of baking catastrophes come from improperly measuring wet ingredients, dry ingredients like flour, and leavening agents such as salt, baking soda, or baking powder.
For instance, packing flour into the measuring cup can turn that beautiful carrot cake you are trying to make into a carrot brick! Or, biscuits into hockey pucks; and nobody wants that!
Like you saw in the video, it’s important to use measuring cups and measuring spoons with dry ingredients and a volume measuring cup, for liquids.
So, save yourself the heartache and take a minute or two to check out the video, if you haven’t watched it already, to provide a quick visual guide of how to measure dry and liquid ingredients accurately.
Besides measuring, there’s also a process to following a recipe. After writing 4 cookbooks and working with recipe writing editors, all of our recipes are written and tested to be followed step by step.
While I can’t say that about everything you find out there in the internets, at least now you know that measuring ingredients the right way will get you 90% of the way there. Following a recipe… I can’t help you there.
Are you looking for tips and tricks to make meal prep easier and save time during the week? In today’s video I’m going to show you how I take a weekly meal plan and prep some of the ingredients and meals ahead of time to make eating fresh meals all week long possible!