Spring Break is just around the corner and many of us will be thinking of ways we can keep our kiddos busy. Instead of relying on the latest video game or Sponge Bob, why not set aside a Kids in the Kitchen day.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned over the past five and half years of teaching nutrition to kindergarten through fifth graders it’s this — put cooking utensils and recipe ingredients in front of them, and you’ve got their attention.

Leading your kids in the preparation of some simple recipes will teach them things like proper hygiene, how to safely use kitchen utensils and appliances, how to correctly measure ingredients and more. The list goes on and on. And the relationship building is priceless. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with family members occurred when we were cooking in the kitchen.

Following are overviews of five awesome recipes from food hero to help you and the kids have a fun, tasty and memorable day!

Start your Kids in the Kitchen day with oven french toast. It doesn’t get any easier than dipping slices of whole grain bread into an egg, milk, flavorings mixture and baking it for 30 minutes. This recipe provides grain, protein and dairy in one great dish. Add some yogurt and fresh or frozen fruit, and you’re covering the dairy and fruit food groups as well. It’s a perfectly delicious way to re-energize after a good night’s sleep.

Add some pizzazz to lunch with my personal pan pizza. Prepping the ingredients for this recipe is a great way to show your kiddos how to slice olives, mushrooms, onions, etc. These veggies, along with your crew’s favorite meats and cheeses, can then be set up in an assembly line to top half an English muffin spread with spaghetti sauce. Pop in a 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes and you’ve got a meal that’s both fun to put together and tasty.

That long lull between lunch and dinner calls for a snack. And even though its name suggests a morning food, the breakfast banana split is good any time of the day or night. It’s hard to find a more palate pleasing combination than yogurt, fruit and cereal.

If you’re craving a refreshing beverage, try strawberry swirl. Made with frozen strawberries and 100% apple juice, this recipe is super simple and super tasty.

And, finally, veggie quesadillas with cilantro yogurt dip is a great way to cap off your Kids in the Kitchen day. The ingredients and instructions lend themselves to all of the cooking skills that you have imparted throughout the day. It’s also an excellent recipe to show your family that veggies can be delicious and filling.

Visit www.foodhero.com for these and other kid approved recipes.

Enjoy your family. Enjoy Spring Break. Be blessed!

Kathy Bates is a Family & Community Health Education Program Assistant for OSU Extension Service - Douglas County. Kathy can be reached by e-mail kathy.bates@oregonstate.edu or phone at 541-672-4461.

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