If you have small children, the idea of letting them make dinner might be equally heartwarming and anxiety producing.
There are many benefits to bringing the family together to prepare a meal. Allowing children to have agency and choice over their food can boost self esteem, and the act of cooking can improve reading comprehension, attention to detail, and responsibility. However, on the flip side, many recipes are too messy, labor intensive, or complex for some children to fully master. In addition, there are safety concerns related to hot stoves and sharp knives and utensils.
If you’re looking for family-friendly meal options that are easy for children to help prepare, here are five delicious dinners that should do the trick.
- Pizza Bagels. There is no end to the creative toppings and sauces children can experiment with when making homemade pizza bagels. This dinner option is fun, requires limited preparation, and can be easily cooked in a toaster oven, avoiding a hot stove or oven.
- Pinwheel sandwiches. Limited mess, prep time and cooking required. Pinwheel sandwiches like these Roasted Turkey, Cream Cheese and Basil Rollups can be thrown together using leftovers and ingredients already in the fridge.
- Spaghetti with meatballs. This classic, family-friendly meal does require adult supervision and the use of a stove. However, it is also nearly impossible to make poorly. Children will enjoy rolling meatballs and checking to see if the pasta is cooked. For a faster, easier version, use frozen meatballs and canned sauce.
- Nachos. Surprisingly versatile and nutritious, nachos are a fun way to let children express their taste and creativity. Load up a pan of corn chips with your favorite toppings and pop them into the oven for a quick and easy meal in 20 minutes or less.
- Rice paper rollups. Few foods look more intriguing than spring rolls, with their translucent rice paper casing revealing the colorful foods inside. Recipes like this Rainbow Rice Paper Rollup use precooked rice noodles and meat and don’t require any heating up. Children can experiment with different fillings and enjoy the existing visual of this meal, as well as the taste.