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Kids Just Want to Have Fun with Food

Boost the 'fun factor' of healthy foods with these tips and recipes.
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Fun Cooking and Serving Tips

One important way to increase the fun factor of healthful foods is to involve kids in the cooking and serving process, experts say.

"Cooking is fun, and kids who like to cook generally like to eat," advises Sam Mead, senior editor of Family Fun magazine.

Some healthful foods can't help but be fun: "Smoothies, for instance, are fun to make and delicious to drink," says Mead.

5 More Tips

Here are 5 more tips for making cooking and eating fun:

1. Baking is a great way to get kids into the kitchen.

"Kids like the magic of seeing things change in the oven," notes Ginny Callan, a former vegetarian chef and author of the Beyond the Moon Cookbook.

Callan says her two children often stand before the glass window of the oven door, watching the muffins rise. Bread dough is tons of fun because kids can handle it by kneading, braiding, rolling or shaping, like when making pizza or cinnamon rolls.

2. Learning to make ethnic dishes is not only fun, but helps teach children about other cultures.

Compared to standard American fare, ethnic foods are often more healthful alternatives. Check out our recipes below for some kid-friendly versions of foods from other countries.

3. Cooking can help introduce children to new foods.

Kids aren't always eager to try new foods, but Callan believes a sure way to get children to try something new is to let them help make it. For example, kids might be more willing to taste soy milk if they're pouring it into a smoothie they're whipping up. And they might be less green-phobic if spinach is an ingredient in the dip they are blending.

4. Make the eating as much fun as the food by using interesting tableware.

Try using small plates, dessert forks, bamboo skewers, chopsticks, and similar wares to promote a fun atmosphere at the table. Have fun with your garnishes and table settings, too.

5. Don't forget to show appreciation to your little helpers.

Kids are natural performers and they love to hear the "oohs" and "aahs," Mead says

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