If your 6 year old is an independent child, she'll want to try her hand at preparing a simple meal. Keep ingredients on hand that encourage her desire to cook, yet are safe and easy for her to use with little supervision. Early confidence in the kitchen helps build a life-long love of cooking and an interest in good nutrition and healthy eating.
Let your 6 year old choose breakfast cereal as the cornerstone for a quick breakfast. Keep milk and fruit juice within reach in the refrigerator. She can wash berries or slice a banana with a butter knife or spoon to put in a cereal bowl. Children this age can also make toast and spread jam. If your child likes something a little different for breakfast, a peanut butter and banana sandwich might be a good choice. She can also fix a simple but nutritious breakfast by layering low-fat yogurt and washed fruit into a parfait glass.
Kids love to mix and stir, and these are the basic skills needed to make simple tuna salad. Provide tuna in a packet as an alternative to canned tuna. Arrange premeasured ingredients within her reach in the refrigerator. Have a peeled hard-boiled egg ready for her to use, chopped celery, pickle relish and creamy salad dressing or low-fat yogurt instead of traditional mayonnaise. Let your little cook have fun with an egg-slicing gadget or the edge of a spoon to safely cut the egg. She can place a lettuce leaf on a whole-grain tortilla and top it with her tuna mixture for an easy roll up.
Encourage your child to help prepare parts of her lunch in the evening to take to school the next day. To keep sandwich bread fresher, leave moist condiments and extras off sandwiches and add them in the morning. Toss fresh salad ingredients in a tightly lidded plastic container, and pack a single serving cup of dressing. Keep a container of prepared raw vegetable finger foods in the refrigerator. They're excellent for snacking any time, and ready to pack in a lunch. Your child can nix plastic baggies and use environmentally friendly reusable serving-sized containers for prepared cheese cubes, washed grapes and cherry tomatoes.
Keep an eye on your child as she puts the ingredients for a barbecue dinner into the slow cooker in the morning. By suppertime the food will be ready for your child to serve. Have her add chicken or pork and barbecue sauce to the cooker and shred it with two forks before dinner. She can plate whole grain buns, each with a spoonful of barbecued chicken, with a side of prepared cole slaw. Have a microwaveable dish of vegetables in the refrigerator ready for her to heat with your assistance.
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