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Kids in the Kitchen

Make cooking a family affair by having your children help prepare healthy meals or snacks.

In addition to being a valuable life skill, learning to cook at an early age also teaches healthy eating habits, food safety and helps build math, science, literacy and fine motor skills. Children get excited about tasting new foods when they help make meals, so let them get involved and make memories that will last a lifetime.


  • Let your kids be “produce pickers.” Let them pick out fruits and veggies at the store, farmers market or orchard.
  • Use learning to cook as an opportunity to practice hand-hygiene and cleanliness, washing hands with warm soapy before and after handling food.
  • Avoid double dipping. Teach children about cross contamination by having extra spoons on hand when tasting is necessary.
  • Children as young as 3-years old can help by washing fruits and vegetables in the sink, wipe up counters, mix or stir, brush (or “paint”) foods with oil or other dressings and more!

Slow-Cooked Applesauce

This chunky, sweet applesauce is perfect alongside main entrees or as an after-dinner treat. Parents should make sure to supervise peeling and slicing the apples. Children 7-years of age and up can assist by using a hand-held apple slicer and corer.


6 pounds (about 18 medium) peeled and sliced apples
1 cup sugar (optional)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup butter, cubed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)


In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine apples, sugar, water, salt and cinnamon. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until tender. Turn off heat, stir in butter and vanilla. Mash if desired. Serve warm or cold.


Use a blend of different types of apples. Leave peel on some or all of the apples for added nutrition and texture. Top with nuts, granola or dried fruit. Apples are flavorful on their own—skip the sugar and vanilla for a more natural taste.


Per ½ cup serving: 105 calories, 2 grams fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 112 mg sodium, 23 grams carbohydrate (20 grams sugars, 2 grams fiber).
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