Cooking with your child is a great family activity and a way to introduce them to food allergy management skills. As you bake, blend and beat ingredients, talk with your child about how to stay safe while preparing meals. Here are a few tips for how to get kids involved – visit FARE’s website for more!
- Before you begin, make your kitchen kid-friendly and stock items for your child to use. Set aside safe tools (spatulas, spoons, mixing bowls, etc.), and let him or her pick which to use.
- With your child’s help, select an accessible location in the pantry and refrigerator to store safe food. (You may want to establish rules about when it is okay for your child to get certain items.)
- Work with your child to select an easy labeling solution for safe foods. Some families use different colored containers for allergen-free food. Others use stickers or labels. Test your child to make sure he or she understands which label means “safe” and which means “off-limits.”
- Choose recipes together. Browse through cookbooks with your child and select recipes to try. If a recipe calls for an ingredient to which your child or a family member is allergic, talk about safe substitutions. As your child starts to understand more about allergy-friendly cooking, ask him or her for ideas on what to substitute.
- Show your child how to read ingredient labels. Teach him or her to slow down while reviewing the list by touching a finger to each ingredient indicated, then have your child do the same.
- As you begin to cook, assign age-appropriate tasks, such as measuring or mixing ingredients, greasing a pan or tossing together salad ingredients. Even a very young child can get involved by selecting cupcake liners or shaking sprinkles onto a cookie.
Related Resource: “Creating a Food Allergy Safety Zone at Home” Booklet
Do you have ideas for getting kids excited and involved in cooking and baking? Leave a comment!