Do you cook with your toddler? Getting little ones involved in the kitchen can be such a great activity! Not only does it keep then entertained, but it's also a great way to encourage them to eat healthy foods and to try new foods too. I know from personal experience that cooking with a toddler can sometimes seem like a really daunting task though – the potential mess alone can feel hugely off-putting, but there are lots of easy ways you can introduce your toddler to cooking without any stress.
Though it’s great to cook a recipe together from start to finish, cooking with toddlers doesn’t have to be a big project every time. Trying to keep their full attention on the task at hand whilst trying to cook or bake can make the experience stressful, so I prefer a 'pop in and out' approach - rather than keeping them in the kitchen and working through a recipe to the bitter end, I offer my boys little tasks so that they can help me as I'm going about my normal cooking routine. This means that they are more often helping me to prepare healthy family meals than baking cakes and biscuits (though we do of course do that sometimes too), a healthier approach to cooking which introduces them to a much wider range of kitchen skills.
Organix have put together a list of jobs for little chefs that makes a great starting point and below I've added some of the small kitchen activities and tasks that I gave my boys during their toddler years. I've always found that letting them help with meal preparation can give them a feeling of ownership of the healthy meals we are cooking together and really help encourage them to actually eat them too!
- choosing which vegetables to use and/or fetching them from the fridge
- pulling the seeds out of peppers
- peeling the skins off a garlic clove (even if they don’t fully succeed, it will keep them occupied for ages!)
- cutting up spring onions with scissors (under supervision)
- transferring chopped vegetables into an oven tray or saucepan for you
- pulling fresh herb leaves off of their stalks
- pulling apart lettuce leaves to shred them for a salad
- building a salad by putting all of the prepared ingredients into the salad bowl and mixing them up
- grating cheese or vegetables like carrot – be careful with little fingers though!
- stirring ingredients
- whisking ingredients
- spooning ingredients into cupcake cases or muffin tins.
I've also pulled together a list of 50 healthier recipes to cook with your toddler. These recipes are all simple with plenty of opportunity for your little one to get hands on. The list starts with savoury recipes because I believe that cooking with toddlers can be so much more than just making sweet treats together, though there's definitely a place for treats too so you'll find some healthier sweet recipes further down the list as well.
50 Healthier Recipes to Cook with Toddlers
Rainbow Omelette Cakes - Eats Amazing
Spiced Tofu Fingers - Tinned Tomatoes
Roasted Carrot Houmous - Eats Amazing
Baked Zucchini Fritters - The Petite Cook
Homemade Pitta Breads - Eats Amazing
Pesto Tomato Tart - Amuse Your Bouche
Courgette Pizza Bites - Eats Amazing
Quick Ciabatta Pizzas - Fab Food 4 All
Carrot & Parsnip Soup - Eats Amazing
Homemade Baked Beans - Snotty Noses
Homemade Burgers - Eats Amazing
Buddha Bowl for Kids - Healthy Little Foodies
Easy Prawn Cocktail - Eats Amazing
Savoury Carrot Flapjacks - My Fussy Eater
Salmon Fishcakes - Eats Amazing
Butternut Squash Cheese Straws - Sneaky Veg
Breaded Aubergine Slices - Eats Amazing
Homemade Mayonnaise - My Kids Lick the Bowl
Spinach & Tomato Corn Muffins - Eats Amazing
Superhero Pasta Sauce - Taming Twins
English Muffin Pizzas - Eats Amazing
Easy Bread Rolls - More Than Just Carrots
Cheddar & Poppy Seed Biscuits - Eats Amazing
Squashed Tomato Pasta Sauce - Rainy Day Mum
Easy Mini Quiches - Eats Amazing
Cucumber Salad - Croque Maman
Cheese & Tomato Omelette Muffins - Eats Amazing
Easy Soda Bread - Charlotte's Lively Kitchen
Breakfast Bagel Quiches - Eats Amazing
Mini Cheesy Fish Pies - A Mummy Too
Frozen Fruity Yogurt Bites - Eats Amazing
Banana Berry Smoothie - Kidgredients
Rainbow Fruit Skewers - Eats Amazing
Apple & Strawberry Muffins - A Mummy Too
Frozen Banana Bites - Eats Amazing
Dairy and Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies - Munchies & Munchkins
Fruity Yogurt Baked Oats - Eats Amazing
Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies - My Fussy Eater
Superhealthy Granola Bar - Eats Amazing
Healthy Frozen Yogurt - Snotty Noses
Rainbow Fruit Frozen Yogurt Bark - Eats Amazing
Raspberry Banana Cookies - Healthy Little Foodies
Raspberry Yogurt Mousse - Eats Amazing
Gluten-Free Vegan Muffins - Le Coin De Mel
Healthier Oat & Berry Muffins - Eats Amazing
Watermelon Popsicles - Taming Twins
Homemade Granola - Eats Amazing
Nut Free Chocolate Bliss Balls - My Kids Lick the Bowl
Whole Grain Banana Bread - Tiny Tummy Tales
Watermelon Pizza - Eats Amazing
You'll also find loads more healthy recipe inspiration in the recipe section of the Organix website.
Do you have any tips for cooking with toddlers or a favourite toddler friendly recipe? Do comment below, or use #NoJunkJourney hashtag to in the conversation across social media.
Disclosure: This blog post was commissioned by Organix as a part of a series of posts for the No Junk Journey campaign. I was compensated for my time, however all opinions expressed in this post are my own.
I hope you found this post useful, please do pin it if you did! For more easy recipes for cooking with little ones, check out the Easy Recipes for Kids section here on the Eats Amazing blog or follow my Baby & Toddler Food Ideas or Easy Recipes for Kids Pinterest boards for fresh inspiration all the year around.