Families Cooking Together During the Coronavirus Pandemic: How to Keep Kids Entertained With Meal Prep by Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND

2 years ago
Families Cooking Together During the Coronavirus Pandemic: How to Keep Kids Entertained With Meal Prep

Even with states slowly opening back up with coronavirus social distancing guidelines in place, many have gotten used to cooking more meals at home. And with many kids not heading back to school until next school year, parents may still also be looking for ways to keep their children engaged with structured activities around the house. A great solution: cooking together!

Involving kids in the food preparation process will make them feel included and encourage them to try new healthy foods. However, many of us have been quite limited in what we’re able to cook with these days as we frequent the grocery store less often. Here are tips on how to get your kids involved in meal prep using limited ingredients:

1. Compile a recipe stash. Use a system that works for you. Whether it’s ripping recipes from a magazine and putting them in a binder or bookmarking them on your computer or smartphone, compile several easy recipes that you know everyone likes. As a fun activity, you can also have your kids gather their favorite recipes to create a recipe scrapbook.

2. Make a list, then shop once a week (or less). With limited visits to the grocery store, it’s important to prepare for your shopping trip or delivery. Get input on your list from the family. Check to see if you’re low on your staples in the refrigerator, freezer and pantry so that you can throw together a quick soup, curry or pasta dish at a moment’s notice.

3. Prep once, cook twice. If you know you’re going to use chopped onions, garlic and vegetables in more than one meal during the week, cut up everything at one time and store what you’re not using immediately in the fridge so you’ll have it on hand. Make extra rice or quinoa and store whatever’s left for a future meal and freeze it. You can also cook extra protein for two meals – the extra fish you grill tonight can be used for tomorrow’s fish tacos.

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