Cook with Kids to teach good food habits

If you have kids (or nieces, nephews, grandkids or friends’ kids), teach them how to cook! It’s messy, creative and downright fun! 

Besides the obvious parent-kid bonding time, there are numerous perks to cooking with your kids. Kids who cook are more apt to make healthy food choices, and they’re more likely to eat what they make. They also learn solid, hands-on lessons in science, math and language when they read recipes, measure ingredients and see food transform before their eyes.  

Kids who cook with others also learn what teamwork is all about. They are building skills that will last a lifetime. It’s a proud moment for kids when they’re able to serve the creation they’ve made. Cooking can lead to a sense of accomplishment, which helps boost self-esteem.  

Not sure what to make? A few weeks ago, I made energy bars with the folks at “Operation F4 – Fight for a Fitter Fort.” This video walks you through a healthy, simple recipe for High Voltage Energy Bars that is sure to spark excitement in your kitchen.


More on Operation F4

You can learn more about Operation F4. This Fort Wayne city-wide initiative encourages our citizens to create lifelong, healthier habits. (It’s not cool being labeled one of the most unhealthy cities in America!)   I challenge you to sign up with folks you know to get fit as a team.


High Voltage Energy Bars

Servings: 16
½ cup toasted* chopped nuts or seeds (your choice). You can use a combination, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, etc.
¾ cup dried fruit (such as raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dates, plums, apricots or peaches)
¾ cup old fashioned oats
¾ cup crisp rice cereal
2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut (if you like)
½ cup almond or peanut butter
¼ cup honey or real maple syrup
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Line an 8x8-inch pan with waxed or parchment paper or foil. Use large piece to wrap around bars and to use for pressing. Put the nuts, dried fruit oats, rice cereal and coconut in a large bowl and toss well. Put the almond or peanut butter and honey or maple syrup in a small bowl and microwave until softened – stir until smooth. Add vanilla and stir again until smooth. Pour this mixture into nut/fruit/cereal mixture. Put into prepared pan and pat down as hard as you can. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 1 week. Cut into 16 bars.

*Toasting nuts helps bring out the flavor. Toast in dry non-stick skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes until brown and fragrant.

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