Cooking and eating meals together as a family will help your child develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Cooking doesn’t have to be expensive, hard, or complicated. Check out the links below for recipes and tips to get you started.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans (PDF)
When choosing recipes, it is helpful to keep a few things in mind. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) are nutrition and physical activity recommendations designed to help you make informed food choices for optimal health and well being. The three main goals of the guidelines are:
- Balance the food you eat with physical activity
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, dairy products, whole grains, and seafood
- Eat less fat, salt, added sugar, and refined grains
It is very important to teach food safety when working in the kitchen with children. Remind kids to wash hands before beginning their recipe, any time they touch their hair or face, and after handling raw meat, poultry or eggs. For additional tips check out these links:
This site features tons of resources to teach kids all about food safety. You can download the comic book How Dad Got Sick, play online food safety games, and even read about how to use a food thermometer.
Find food safety info for parents, kids, and teens. Test your food safety know-how with an online quiz.
You don’t need to be a professionally-trained chef to be a great cook. In fact, some of the best cooks have received no formal training at all! Take a look at these sites to gain the confidence and skills to start creating yummy meals with your family.
Cooking Video Tutorials
Are you stumped by how to chop an onion or how to use fresh herbs? Celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver believes that learning to cook is an essential life skill that all people should have. He created these easy to follow videos to help children and adults get cooking.
Cooking as a Family
Cooking can be a great time to connect as a family. Check out this helpful article to learn about what children can do to help in the kitchen by age. The sooner kids learn these valuable skills, the sooner they can start creating yummy meals all on their own!
When you are choosing a recipe, it is important to consider how that food might fit into your overall healthy diet. The following sites include recipes that we believe supports the DGA recommendations.
Freezer and Crockpot Meals
Erin Chase is known as the $5 dinner mom. She learned menu planning and budgeting while working as a housemother in the Dominican Republic. She loves designing simple and delicious dinners for less than $5. We are particularly fond of her freezer and crockpot meals, which are great for busy weeknights. Browse Freezer Meals and Crockpot Meals.
Make Healthy Eating a Way of Life
Eating Well’s mission is “to provide the inspiration and information people need to make healthy eating a way of life.” They have thousands of healthy recipes to choose from complete with beautiful photos and nutrition facts. Check out their great budget-friendly options as well.
Favorite Recipes with a Healthy Twist
This site from Cooking Light magazine features all of your favorite recipes with healthier twists. From meals and snacks, to the occasional treat, you’ll find them all here.
Healthy Recipes by Category
From the Arizona Nutrition Network’s Champions for Change, this site features healthy recipes by category. They also have an easy to use search feature. Be inspired by the food that you have on hand by searching for recipes by ingredient.
Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day
Good and Cheap is a collection of recipes for people with limited incomes, particularly those on a $4/day food stamps budget. This well-designed resource has been produced by Leanne Brown, a food-studies scholar and avid home cook in New York City. Download this recipe book for free!
Healthy Habits for Kids
Kids can learn about healthy habits with all of their favorite PBS characters. Plan balanced meals and learn about food groups with Woofster’s Delicious Dish. Or get active with Curious George in Monkey Moves and have a super fun dance party with Dash and his friends.
Nutrition and Physical Activity Fun for Kids
Kids can test their nutrition know-how and move their bodies at the same time during the Track and Field Fuel up Challenge. After each event, children are encouraged to celebrate by engaging in physical activities like jumping up and down and doing a victory dance.
Online Games for Kids
Kids can play nutrition Sudoku or track the food they eat and learn all about MyPlate by playing Blast Off as well as other fun, interactive games.
Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables
Our friends at Food Hero have created a guide to help you identify when veggies and fruits are in season in the Pacific Northwest. Some differences will occur because of varied weather in some areas of the Pacific Northwest or weather changes from year to year. Learn more »