Kid-Friendly Food Inspo for When You’re Fresh Out of Ideas

As a mom of four, I find cooking to be such an amazing way to connect with my kids. And as they get older, I’ve realized that my little ones actually love to help me in the kitchen more and eventually the whole family ends up getting involved with the recipe! That’s why being in the kitchen together is such a fun way to bring families together—everyone can partake, get involved and reap the tasty benefits.

So grab your aprons, roll up your sleeves and get ready to try some of these family-friendly foodie ideas that will cultivate those magical moments with your family in the kitchen!

1. Look through cookbooks together or at recipes online and have your kids help you choose what they want to eat for dinners. 
This also encourages kids to find new meals to try. As a family, we aim to choose one or two new recipes to try a week. Not only does this allow them to sample new dishes and cuisines, but helps them feel like they have a say in the family’s “menu” for the week. This is also a pro tip for parents of picky eaters and a great way to introduce new foods in a dish they’re excited about.

2. Have your kids help you meal plan and make shopping lists. 
I ask my kids to write their own, which is a writing assignment in itself. Let your kids accompany you to the grocery store to look for any unfamiliar ingredients. If they are part of the process from start to finish, they’ll be much more inclined to try new foods.

3. Designate a day and let your kids help make something homemade that they can snack on all week after school.
I’ve found that if they help you cook or bake something, they are much more willing to eat their creations! These Apple Cinnamon Granola bars made with Juicy Juice are a recent favorite. The kids help me wrap them individually to have on-hand for lunchboxes and snacks.

4. Try a DIY dinner night.
Let each family member craft their own take on a meal. Some of our recent favorite meals have been taco bars, homemade pizza nights or even smoothie bowls for breakfast with toppings like granola and chocolate chips. Anything that you can ‘build or make your own’ so they can try new foods as toppings and, the best part, try everyone else’s!

5. My family loves a little friendly competition, so we like to turn mealtime and cooking into a game.
My 12 year-old really stepped up in the kitchen lately, so we did our own version of “Chopped” at home and got my husband and mother involved as judges. I need to step it up because his Soy Garlic Shrimp Sandwich with a Cilantro Radish Vinaigrette beat my Puff Pastry Lettuce cup with a Spicy Shrimp Slaw by one point! His love of food solidifies that all this time spent together as a family in the kitchen has spurred into something really special.

And if (or when) there is a recipe or new food experiment that doesn’t turn out the way you expected? Don’t sweat it, just remember this: time in the kitchen is where memories are made. It’s where I remember spending my most precious moments with my mother and grandmother and currently…it’s where my family gathers, connects and decompresses. I know that my kids will always hold these experiences close in their hearts, no matter the outcome.