What are Safe and Easy Foods my Kids Can Cook

happy birthday, food, table

A kid’s perception of cooking is more than a chore or a necessary activity. Though complex concepts such as flavor profiles, cooking techniques, and passion may be completely lost on them, kids just ultimately want something to do to quench their short attention span. More than this, some kids ultimately just want to do an activity with you, their loving parent.

Teaching kids how to cook can be a very rewarding experience for a parent, especially if they sense the eagerness of their kids to learn and improve. However, this may not be as easy as you think since kids can be fickle, unpredictable, and can be outright unruly. So, as a parent, it is up to you to guide them on their journey, and cooking safely with easy recipes is a good way to start.

How to Get them Interested in dinner ideas for kids

soup, food, lunch

Teaching is one thing, but getting them interested in cooking is another story. We can’t force our kids to do something they don’t want to. Forcing them to cook is a sure way to get them to associate cooking with something they dislike. Easing them into cooking is a good way to spark their interest in the activity.

A good way to start is to let them watch you when you’re cooking in the kitchen. Kids are naturally very curious and will most likely take an opportunity to learn something as they navigate through the early stages of life. So let them observe, let the sights and smells stimulate their senses. A 2021 study on curiosity in childhood suggests that children are naturally curious to drive them to learn more about how to navigate their world properly. You might also notice them mimicking what you do in the kitchen with their toys.

So if you notice your kids watching you cook or they’re displaying interest (like mimicking), welcome their interest and give them chances to learn about cooking. You can do this by answering their questions or showing them something, then explaining more about what you did. Kids are fascinated with new things, and introducing them early to the kitchen can get them interested in continuing to learn more and eventually try cooking.

Once they’re hooked, be as receptive and hands-on as you can. Indulge your child’s questions, let them try simple cooking tasks like washing vegetables or fruit, or even let them pour some of the ingredients. Ensure these ingredients don’t splash, so don’t let them put meats in hot oil or large chunks of vegetables in soups. The goal is to get them involved.

If you feel like they’re ready for more, it’s time to teach them recipes. Now, it’s important to remember that recipes don’t need to be complex; even a salad is a recipe.

As long as your child feels involved and is making something worthwhile, that’s more than enough to keep them interested in learning how to cook. When you bring them into the kitchen to learn from you, you give them an opportunity to learn food related skills and, over time, you can nurture cooking as a skill and a source of pride.

There’s More to Cooking Than Food

food, products, rustic

The good thing about cooking is it’s not entirely focused on food. It’s also a way to teach your kids skills and virtues that would shape their character as they grow up. For example, you can teach them the importance of not wasting food or ways to recycle food scraps in the compost. Of course, you should cater your lesson appropriately to your child’s age. It can be as simple as recognizing different colored fruits and vegetables or as advanced as learning how to hold certain kitchen utensils properly. Utilize the time for cooking together as an activity filled with lessons to enrich them.

Lessons like techniques, ingredients, and recipes are just part of the experience—they’ll eventually learn it over time. So, as a parent, you should focus more on essential lifelong lessons, like developing patience as they learn how to wait for a meal to get ready or discipline when they need to practice restraint not to touch or taste anything that’s not ideal, like raw food or dough.

The time you spend teaching your kids something new can help them recognize that cooking is a good way to nourish our bodies, it’s a way of showing your love to your family, and it’s another form of creating something you can be proud of. As their teacher, be creative! Always be receptive to potential situations where you can insert lessons.

Things Your Kids Need to Know Before They Can Cook

Kids should always be reminded that cooking is not a time to play. Yes, it can be fun and a chance for the kid to bond with you, but tell them that cooking time is serious—tell them why they should follow certain rules. But don’t scare them. Explain that if these rules are followed, they’re perfectly safe—and make them feel secure that you’re right beside them.

However, as we all know, kids aren’t just that easy to discipline. So, a good way is to incentivize the experience, such as telling them that if they behave, let them hang out with you more in the kitchen, or if they follow the rules, you’ll give them a treat after. Practice positive reinforcement and reward good behavior instead of getting angry at your child for misbehaving.

So, guide them, especially with sharp objects like knives and scissors. Give them a more hands-on approach to teaching, but let them do it by themselves since they learn better by actually experiencing it. And, don’t forget to remind them to be safe and careful.

Rules In The Kitchen

rules, board, circles

Certain rules and boundaries in the kitchen must be established and followed. Doing this ensures your child's safety since cooking can be harmful if not enough care is practiced. It is always up to you and your decisions on what could be safe or unsafe to do once your child starts cooking.

But, we also need to remember that kids consider us their role models. And a good role model must also adhere to the standards they put in place. If your child sees you breaking your own rules, they might be more inclined not to follow them. Such as not practicing hand-washing or tasting raw food.

Here are simple rules that you and your child must follow:

wash, hands, soap
  • Practice handwashing - In food preparation, handwashing is one of the most crucial steps to ensure the safety of the food you prepare. Explain that handwashing is important so they won’t get stomach aches. There are other creative ways to make them understand, such as through singing songs or watching kids’ videos about germs.
  • Pull back long hair - Hair is flammable and can easily catch fire if you let it get in the way. Also, ingredients can stick to your child’s hair while cooking.
  • Keep countertops clean - Kitchen countertops are unsanitary and should always be spotless. You can delegate this task to your child, and it’s also a good way for them to learn about sanitation and cleanliness.
kitchen, bar stools, decor
  • Tasting should be only done on cooked food - Food tasting should only be done when food is thoroughly cooked since raw ingredients may harbor harmful bacteria and parasites in meat like tapeworms.
dessert, sweet, cake
  • Refrain from double-dipping - Double-dipping utensils like spoons and finger food can transfer bacteria from your mouth into the food.
  • Separate raw and ready-to-eat ingredients - Cross-contamination might occur when you place certain ingredients adjacent to one another.

Safe and Easy Dishes That Your Child Should Start With

Thanks to how diverse cooking is, and the seemingly thousands of recipes that exist, there are safe and easy ones that your child can do, even on their own. However, for recipes that require heat and hot oil, you should still assist your child and practice vigilance in ensuring safety.

These recipes are also a good way to slowly introduce your child to healthier ingredients, like fruits, vegetables, or protein sources like meat and eggs. If possible, let your kids choose from ingredients you know that work well with any combination to make sure they enjoy the food they end up making.

Toast with Toppings easy food for kids

The only tricky thing here is the toasting part, which may seem easy and safe, but an electric-powered appliance is involved in the process. So, you still need to be there to assist your kid so he won’t get burnt or, God-forbid, electrocuted. You can always try toasting the bread yourself first, then let the child continue with the recipe.

Start with spreads like peanut butter, jelly, marmalade, honey, or Nutella. Then, try marshmallows, sprinkles, mini-chocolate kisses, or whipped cream for the toppings. Remember to always monitor what your child eats since these ingredients contain lots of sugar—moderation is still key for a child’s diet.

Eventually, try introducing healthier alternatives like apples, avocados, bananas, and berries to increase your child’s fruit intake. The endless possibilities that toast with toppings offers are a great way to improve a child’s creativity and could also train their palates to recognize different types of flavor.

Sandwiches easy dinner ideas

Like toast with toppings, sandwiches can also offer lots of variety for your child to stimulate creativity and their taste buds. However, sandwiches are a little bit better since you’ll get to introduce vegetables and protein sources to your child.

As always, try to offer the child ingredients you know they’ll love, then slowly work your way from there. For starters, try hotdogs, cheese, bacon, fried egg, or burger patties, then slowly incorporate vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumber. Even avocados would fit in nicely as an extra sandwich filling.

Milk and Cereal easy dinner recipes

breakfast, healthy, food

Milk and cereal are great since they offer carbohydrates that kids need to start the day, and the calcium from milk can be good for their bone development. Since there’s no need for cooking, your child can make it themself, which can let the child develop a sense of independence. However, cereals for kids may not be the healthiest option since they’re filled with lots of sugar.

As a substitute, you can use whole-grain cereals, which are healthier. But, chances are, your kids won’t love them, so, as a parent, it’s time to get creative. Fresh berries are your best bet to try and mimic the vibrant colors of kid’s cereal—not only are they filled with vitamins, but the sweet twist they provide will make kids love them.

Scrambled Eggs easy weeknight dinner ideas for kids

food, pan, cooking

Scrambled eggs are a great way for kids to develop their palate and sense of smell, especially if you introduce herbs to the dish like chives or minced basil for fragrance and presentation. Eggs are also really healthy and are a good source of protein for a child, especially for their body’s growth and development.

Since there are multiple versions of scrambled eggs with varying difficulty, start with the easiest recipe: whisking eggs into a bowl with salt and pepper, then cooking them in a skillet with 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter in low-medium heat. Considering that heat and oil are involved, be ready to assist your child when doing scrambled eggs.

Pancakes easy food for kids

hot, chocolate, drink

Children love pancakes. It’s fluffy, sweet, and a hundred times better with butter and maple syrup. Also, cooking pancakes with your children is a great way to introduce the concept of measuring ingredients. It doesn’t have to be complex, you can make pancakes out of pancake mix and that will work just as fine.

When making the pancake mix, let your child measure the ingredients themselves as instructed in the pancake mix. Don’t forget to remind your child not to lick or taste the raw pancake mix since it has the potential to be unsafe.

For a healthier twist to pancakes, try using fresh milk instead of water as the dough’s binder to introduce calcium to your child’s diet—coincidentally, doing this also makes your pancakes fluffier. Also, use real maple syrup or honey instead of store-bought pancake syrup, or look out for the ones that don’t have high fructose corn syrup. Pancake syrups are usually made up of corn syrup and artificial maple flavoring.

Mac & Cheese easy food for kids

A universally loved and classic American comfort food, Mac & cheese is one of the easiest pasta dishes to make—made even easier by store-bought versions that you can easily make in less than 10 minutes. Mac & cheese is a good way to introduce your child to pasta and cheeses, eventually paving the way for more complex food like spaghetti or carbonara.

However, when using store-bought Mac & cheese from boxes, it’s important to cook them in moderation because they could be very unhealthy since they’re filled with preservatives and chemicals. If you can, try to opt for homemade mac & cheese with ingredients that you’re confident with that are safe. Don’t worry, since homemade Mac & cheese is still quick and easy.

A 2017 New York Times article called “The Chemicals in Your Mac and Cheese” also investigated that mac & cheese may contain high concentrations of phthalates. According to the article, phthalates can presumably disrupt hormones like testosterone and have been linked to genital defects in infant boys and learning and behavior problems in older children.


Cooking can be a great way for a child to discover their first passion. So, to ignite the passion within them, start their cooking journey with these simple and safe recipes. Of course, do not limit your choices. These are just among the hundreds to even thousands of recipes across the globe that could be great beginner’s recipes for your mini-chef. All you have to do is find them

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is easy to cook at home for kids

spaghetti, spaghetti and meatballs, pasta

Cooking for kids can be easy - especially if you involve them in the process! That said, here are some simple and kid-friendly recipes to get you started:

1. Spaghetti and meatballs - Let your little ones help shape the meatballs and they'll be sure to love eating them too!

2. Grilled cheese sandwiches - A classic that's always a hit with kids. Just be careful not to burn the bread!

3.Quesadillas - Another easy favorite that can be customized to each child's liking. grilled chicken, gooey cheese, veggies...the options are endless!

4. PB&J sandwiches - The ultimate kid comfort food.

What can I make my child for dinner

You could make your child macaroni and cheese, a grilled cheese sandwich, or even just some pasta with tomato sauce. Whatever you make, just be sure to include lots of love

What should a picky eater eat for dinner

Making dinner for picky eaters doesn't have to be a hassle - there are plenty of easy and tasty meal options that they're sure to love. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

If your child is a fan of chicken, sloppy joe pizza, pizza hot dogs, why not try making them some homemade chicken nuggets? They'll be much healthier than the store-bought versions, and they're sure to love the crispy coating. Simply dip chicken breasts in beaten egg, then coat in a mixture of breadcrumbs and grated shredded cheddar cheese fun twist. Fry in hot oil until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with sweetcorn, mashed potatoes and their favorite dipping sauce for a delicious dinner.

What are good kids foods

Family favorite simple meals options that fit these criteria include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins such as grilled chicken, classic casserole or fish, dairy products such as greek yogurt or real cheese, creamed corn, frito pie and healthy snacks such as nuts or white bread with olive oil.

What are top 5 chicken food kids love

barbecue, meat, grill

Fried chicken - It's tasty, crispy, crunchy texture with some fish sticks.

BBQ chicken - Another favorite for its sweet and smoky flavors. With hot dogs and your favorite toppings, hot sauce, bbq sauce and potato chips.

Buffalo chicken - Spicy and tangy, this is a popular choice for those who love a challenge.

Teriyaki chicken - great recipe makes for a sweet and savory with a slightly savory sauce this is a hit with kids and adults alike.

Honey garlic chicken - A classic dish that combines the best of sweet and savory flavors. corn casserole and waffle iron on the side.

Taco Tuesday- favorite recipe ground beef with a flour tortillas, sour cream and shredded cheese. with some french fries on the side kid friendly meal.

How can I make a pizza at home for the kids

pizza, vegan pizza, vegetarian pizza

Follow that delicious recipes, Making a pizza at home for the whole family can be a fun and easy activity. There are a few things you'll need to get started, including:

-A baking stone or pizza pan

-Pizza dough (you can find this pre-made at most supermarkets, or make your own using this recipe)

-Pizza toppings of your choice (pepperoni, cheddar cheese, vegetables, pizza sauce etc.) Make do you get that crusty bread.

More posts from this author