• May 28, 2013
  • Generation Rescue
  • 0
Summer Cooking With Your Kids

Many parents whose children are on GFCF, SCD or other special diets spend considerable time in the kitchen preparing meals—but many parents haven’t yet brought their child(ren) into the kitchen with them to be part of the cooking process. Cooking is a fantastic activity for children of all abilities—it builds focus and attention and can be used to facilitate communication and connection between parents and kids. In my GFCF children’s cookbook The Kitchen Classroom I share lots of tips, resources and recipes from my experience as a cooking instructor and from cooking with my son, George, 10, who has autism and has been cooking with me since age 4.


Summer is a really ideal time to try some cooking activities. With abundant, fresh local produce available, you and your child can explore a range of techniques and recipes. Here are some suggestions:


1. From the Garden or Farmers Market: Planting a garden with your child is a wonderful, concrete way to show where fruits and vegetables come from and children can be engaged so many different jobs, from watering plants to pulling weeds. But if you haven’t made a garden this year, find a local farmer’s market and become regular visitors. Let your child help you put the fruits or veggies into your bag, pay the farmer, and help you carry your bags. There are so many opportunities for conversation at the farmer’s market—notice colors and sizes of fruits and vegetables. Encourage your child to try something new each week. Fruits and veggies can be prepared in so many fun ways—check out my ebook ABC Fruits & Veggies 4 Me for some really fun recipes!


2. Homemade Popsicles: When the weather gets warm, my kids and I get out the popsicle mold! Putting your ingredients into a blender is a really fun way to get your kids comfortable in the kitchen. We use unsweetened coconut milk, fresh or frozen berries, a few spoons of honey or drops of stevia and blend. Here’s a short video of George from a couple of years ago making popsicles with me—notice his amazing attention!


3. Fresh Fruit Salad: Making fruit salad is another favorite summer activity. As different foods come into season, you can add variation to your salad. Children can rinse fruit (great sensory activity!), peel and chop soft fruits with a butter knife.


4. Smoothies: Breakfast on a hot summer morning doesn’t have to be hot food. Making a nutrient-dense smoothie is a wonderful way to start the day and kids can help you measure and pour almond milk and fruit into the blender. We add nut butter for added protein and even make a berry-avocado smoothie that tastes creamy and sweet!


5. On the Grill: Of course you’d never have your child working the grill, but he or she can help you prep food for the grill. If your child is able to tolerate corn, have him/her help you husk it. Wash and chop veggies for the grill. Grilled peaches and plums with a few drops of honey is one of our favorite summertime desserts.


Please send me your cooking questions or ideas! I am always happy to help fellow Warrior Parents get cooking! Visit me at www.kitchenclassroom4kids.com or www.facebook.com/kitchenclassroom.


Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer is a mom, author and cooking instructor. She loves to speak for parent groups and offer trainings for parents, teacher and therapists in person and via Skype. Email her at [email protected]


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