Teaching your children to cook is a great way to introduce them to new foods. Many children will try new flavors if they proudly introduce them to the family as their own creation or one that they helped make. Begin with something very familiar, such as a pizza dinner, and add side dishes for a variety of nutrients and flavors. You'll have a healthy and attractive meal while spending quality time in the kitchen with your kids.
Skip the same old pepperoni pie and experiment with different types of pizza. Make whole-wheat crust in your mixer, using a bread dough recipe. Try flat bread or pita bread as a crust or make mini pizzas on bagels or English muffins. Create fun faces on the pizza slices with chopped vegetables and fruits, such as bell pepper rings and slices, mushrooms or pineapple bits. Give your family some protein variety by offering turkey pepperoni, chicken strips, ham cubes or turkey bacon as flavorful toppings.
Make traditional bread sticks with your children by cutting strips of dough, rolling then baking them in the oven. Dust the bread sticks with dry salad dressing and dip mix before baking to season them. Try a twist on boneless chicken wings by breading chunks of breast meat with panko crumbs and baking them until they're golden brown. Even your smallest toddler can learn to wash her hands and dunk pieces of chicken into a bowl of crumbs. Mix up fun dips for the "wings," such as salsa or powdered ranch dressing mixed with low-fat sour cream.
Give your kids an extra healthy kick by creating a vegetable tray. Cut vegetables into fun shapes and serve them with a variety of dips. Make radish roses, cut carrots into crinkle french fry shapes and make bell pepper strips in three or four colors. Mix up a different taste for a dip by creating a warm, low-fat cheese fondue dip or smooth and creamy hummus. Stirring in a packet of dry dressing and dip mix gives any dip a flavor boost.
Fruit can play a big part in your dinner, especially at the end of the meal. In hot summer months whip up a colorful bowl of fruit salad to serve as dessert or a side dish. In the winter, core apples, spoon a bit of brown sugar into each hole in the center and bake them. Give your children a treat with dessert pizzas made any time of the year. Roll out dough, use applesauce as the pizza sauce and top them with apple, pear or peach slices. Sprinkle on some instant oatmeal for a crumb topping and bake the pizzas until the crusts are brown.