Q & A with Michelle Rose, M.D. NCH Medical Group Pediatrician
With so many kid-friendly, online recipes, the possibilities are endless for creating a memorable meal on National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day, an invitation for kids of all ages to plan, prepare and eat a meal together with their parents’ help.
Q: Why is this day important?
A:I think it’s a great opportunity for families to bond together and for parents to teach kids healthy eating, what healthy ingredients look like, and how fun cooking can be so that when they grow up they can enjoy healthy foods. Parents can teach kids what a balanced meal looks like, which is especially important in this age with so much childhood obesity.
Q.Besides eating, what are the benefits to celebrating this day?
A: It’s really important for families to sit together and actually prepare meals at home as much as possible. Studies show that kids who have three to five meals that are made at home during the week are the kids who are less in trouble, have less risky behavior and basically are very well-adjusted kids.
I think having a meal at home definitely allows parents and kids to connect on a much deeper level. Kids can talk about their day, their friends and things happening around them. Parents can stay in touch with their kids and that leads to healthier, better-adjusted kids.
Q: How can parents keep their children safe in the kitchen?
A: You definitely have to teach kids the important of staying safe while cooking. They should know how to hold tools safely and how to use oven mitts to protect from heat and burns.
Parents need to consider the age of the child and his/her developmental level when cooking. You always need to supervise children no matter what their age to make sure they’re safe and not at risk. Example: A toddler or 3- or 4-year-old child may be able to count chocolate chips and throw them in the batter, or take measuring cups and put ingredients into a big bowl. They shouldn’t be allowed to put something onto the stove.
Work with your child to see how far they can go in the kitchen.
Q: What should parents do in case of burns?
A: If a child does get burned, get cool water or a cool compress and place it on the burn. That’s the right first step. Depending on what it looks after that, you might want to use antibiotic ointment and cover it. If it’s blistering, you might want to bring them in to the office. Using butter is an old wives’ tale and is definitely not safe to put on burns.
Q: Should children use appliances?
A: Kids are fascinated by the buttons and noises and things that appliances can do. But all of these fancy appliances should be used with adult supervision. The parent should be there to guide them to make sure they stay safe. Depending on the age of the child who is participating, they may be able to turn it on and off, but you can’t expect them to know how to hold the lid on, so parents need to be the one controlling the appliance.
Q: Any other advice?
A: I definitely think National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day is a great time to bring in an educational component to cooking. It entails more than just meal planning. With a younger kid, you can focus on math by measuring and counting. And it can involve science because you can talk about how heat and cold can change how foods look, especially if you’re baking something.
It’s also a great time to talk about textures and senses with kids who are picky eaters. When you’re selecting the recipe to make together, perhaps try to incorporate a vegetable they’ve never tried. They may be more apt to try something new if they’ve had a hand in making it. Have them smell and taste new foods that they’ve never tried before. Open their horizons to something new and fun.
Q: Best recipes for little ones?
A: Try making cookies. They can count the chocolate chips, they can stir and they can put flour into a bowl. It’s always something fun to do!
Dr. Rose sees patients at 135 N. Arlington Heights Road, Suite 152 in Buffalo Grove. To schedule an appointment, call 847-465-9600.
*National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day is sponsored by the Young Chefs Academy. Here are two recipes they recommend trying:
Herbed Chicken Nuggets
Use #KidsTakeOverTheKitchenDay to post on social media.