SHAPING UP: Get your kids cooking over summer and you’ll all reap health rewards

It’s really important to encourage kids to help out in the kitchen. It teaches them lots of important skills from a young age, and the Summer holidays is a perfect time to get in the kitchen and have some fun.

Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 12:00 am
Updated Monday, 27th July 2020, 10:18 am
Graham Low cooking with the kids.

I don’t mean putting some frozen chips and turkey dinosaurs in the oven though. I'm talking about cooking with healthy, fresh ingredients to make nutritious meals or snacks.

The habits they pick up now will stay with them for the rest of their lives, so building their confidence in the kitchen is one of the best things you can do as a parent.

My kids, Max and Jessica love helping out. I always promote fresh, nutritious foods when we cook together so they get used to eating healthy. They now make healthy choices on their own; I don't have to disguise veggies or battle with them to eat healthy foods.

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Teaching your children about healthy eating isn't the only benefit of getting them in the kitchen though. Here are some other benefits too:

CREATE LIFELONG HABITS

One of the most important things you can do for your health is to cook fresh meals at home. Inviting children into the kitchen and involving them at a very young age creates habits that will last a lifetime.

APPRECIATION FOR REAL FOOD

Preparing foods from scratch allows children to see for themselves the difference between real foods and processed ones. As you cook, talk about the health benefits of the nutritious, fresh foods.

BROADEN THE PALATECooking together is a fun and low-pressure way to expose kids to new foods, and this can help picky eaters feel comfortable trying new foods. When kids are involved in meal prep or cooking, they take ownership and are more likely to eat the foods they prepare.

IMPROVES COMMUNICATION

In a busy world of school-runs, homework, and after-school activities, ipads and mobile phones, the relaxed atmosphere in the kitchen offers quality one-to-one time and the opportunity to talk, about anything!

DEVELOPS MOTOR SKILLSStirring, rolling, measuring, sprinkling are just a few kitchen tasks that allow young children to improve their motor skills.

IMPROVES CONFIDENCEBeing confident in the kitchen is really important, so that when they leave home they won’t be relying on vending machines and frozen dinners.

FEEL GOOD FACTORKids love to help! I guess it makes them feel big. With practice, your little sous chef will eventually be a big help in the kitchen. Watch their face the first time they get to see their parents enjoy and compliment them on a dish they helped make.

HAVE LOTS OF FUN!Cooking is fun, kids love getting their hands messy! It also builds positive memories. Some of the best memories I have of my grandparents are in the kitchen, I’ll never forget helping Nana making her special chocolate cake.

With all of these benefits, what are you waiting for? Why not start with these healthy Raspberry Chocolate Chip Brownies?

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Protein Brownies

SERVES: 12

TOTAL TIME: 30 Minutes

CALORIES PER PORTION: 114

INGREDIENTS

25g rolled oats (gluten free if required) 50g unsweetened cocoa powder

55g whey chocolate protein powder 120ml unsweetened applesauce

1 egg

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

160ml almond milk, unsweetened

45g chocolate chips, plus 2 tbsp for topping 65g raspberries, broken up into large pieces

INSTRUCTIONS

Firstly, preheat oven to 177°C/350°F/Gas 4. Spray 8x8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Place oats in a blender and blend for one minute or until they resemble the consistency of flour. Transfer oat flour to a medium bowl then whisk in cocoa powder and protein powder, set aside.

Whisk together applesauce, egg, honey, vanilla and almond milk until smooth and well combined. Add to dry ingredients and mix together until just combined.

Next, heat coconut oil and the chocolate chips (save 2 tbsp) in a small saucepan over very low heat. Stir continuously until all chocolate chips and coconut oil have melted together. (You can also heat them in a microwave safe bowl for 30-45 seconds.) Gently stir into brownie batter.

Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp of chocolate chips and raspberries on top and bake for 18-22 minutes or until just cooked through and the top has set.

Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely.

Once cool, cut into 12 bars. The bars should be kept covered in the refrigerator and enjoyed cold!

10-MINUTE LOWER BODY PYRAMID

This week’s 10-Minute HIIT workout is a pyramid workout that focuses on all of the muscles in your lower body.

If you picture a pyramid, it’s big at the bottom and narrow at the top... And that's what our pyramid workout looks like too. You start with a 60-second exercise and gradually decrease the time as you go through the workout. When you have completed the last exercise for 15 seconds, you’ve reached the top of the pyramid and you get 1 minute rest before you repeat the same exercises again to work back down the pyramid.

60 seconds LUNGES

60 seconds SQUATS WITH CALF RAISE

45 seconds SQUAT KICK BACKS

45 seconds SQUAT PULSES

30 seconds SPLIT SQUAT (Left)

30 seconds SPLIT SQUAT (Right)

15 seconds BRIDGES

15 seconds ISOMETRIC BRIDGE

60 seconds rest

15 seconds ISOMETRIC BRIDGE

15 seconds BRIDGES

30 seconds SPLIT SQUAT (Right)

30 seconds SPLIT SQUAT (Left)

45 seconds SQUAT KICK BACKS

45 seconds SQUAT PULSES

60 seconds SQUATS WITH CALF RAISE

60 seconds LUNGES​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​