Age-Appropriate Cooking Tasks for Gluten-Free Kids
Cooking is a fun activity you and your kids can do together. Cooking is also a chance to teach your kids skills to help their transition to eating gluten-free. Getting in on the action in your kitchen at home can give them the opportunity to be creative while introducing them to delicious and nutritious foods that are safely gluten-free.
We’ve put together a list of kitchen tasks that can instantly involve kids of different ages and skill levels in cooking meals and baking treats. We’ve put these tasks in order of age-appropriateness, with the easier ones first leading up to the more complex.
Washing and tearing
Enlist your child’s help in preparing a salad while you do all the cutting. Ask them to wash the lettuce and let it dry. Or let them spin the lettuce dry in a salad spinner, if you have one. They can tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and toss it into a bowl. Once you’ve finished cutting the salad fixings, they can add them to the salad bowl and toss them with serving utensils. Older kids with kitchen safety knowledge can help chop.
Mashing and smashing
Mashing soft foods takes some strength but doesn’t need a lot of complex coordination. Two great foods for mashing are potatoes to make mashed potatoes and avocados to make guacamole. Make sure potatoes are boiled and soft. Your child can use a mashing kitchen tool called a potato masher. If older – and stronger – they can even use a sturdy fork. Have them mash as smooth or as chunky as your family likes.
Measuring and mixing
Add some math to the cooking equation by letting your child help with measuring ingredients. Making gluten-free pancakes or waffles for breakfast? They can help by measuring the wet ingredients like milk, vanilla, and oil and dry ingredients like gluten-free flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add everything into mixing bowls (following recipe instructions) and let them mix away! Part of the fun is watching the wet and dry ingredients combine and turn into batter.
Whisking takes a little more coordination but doesn’t rely on strength. The fast mixing and beating movements are made easier with an actual whisk although they can use a fork in a pinch.
Spreading, pouring, and sprinkling
A fun dish to make with kids is lasagna. They can be a helper chef by spreading gluten-free pasta noodle layers, pouring tomato sauce, laying down slices of mozzarella cheese, and sprinkling grated cheese on each layer. The rest of the fun is eating!
Cutting soft things
Using a knife safely is a very important kitchen skill. Depending on their age, your child can practice cutting with a regular dinner knife that isn’t sharp. Pick softer foods out for them to cut like banana, ripe pear, avocado, or well-cooked potato, sweet potato, or squash. Help them cut hard fruits and vegetables – or give that task to older kids.
Show an older child how to peel a fruit and vegetable with a peeler. They should be able to hold the fruit or vegetable steady and gently drag the peeler along the skin away from them – and watch their fingers! Let them peel apples, carrots, and cucumbers. Make a contest out of how long they can make the peels by peeling slowly and carefully.
There are a lot of ways you can involve your kids in the kitchen while teaching them new skills. The best part is that they can learn to enjoy new foods and feel a sense of independence and accomplishment.
Activity: Make Fruit Salad:
Test their cutting skills! Start this dish by having them peel a few oranges by hand. Pull apart the orange sections. Cut each section in half with a kitchen knife (age-appropriate). Slice and add banana. Add sliced or whole grapes. Cut pieces of cantaloupe or watermelon. Cut apple slices (younger children may need help with harder fruits). Mix it all together and serve!
EXCLUSIVE!! This year’s Teen Summit will be held at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, California on June 30 and July 1. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that gluten-free teens should not miss! There’s a strict 50 teen limit so be sure to secure a spot soon. Learn all about it and register your teen TODAY: https://gluten.org/teen-summit-2022/
The information on this website is for educational purposes only. Consult your healthcare team when considering this information.
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