Thinking of getting your kids started in the kitchen? Children can begin helping in the kitchen as early as age two, and before this, can be worn in a sling when preparing cold foods or can watch from a highchair. Getting children in the kitchen as early as possible can have major benefits for both kids and their families. Not only do children learn food skills, but they can also learn what it means to eat healthy and how to put together a balanced meal. For picky eaters, cooking encourages children to try new foods. For the youngest kids, helping in the kitchen develops fine motor skills, and helps with learning math and reading. It can be messy, but with some patience, letting your kid chef help you cook can help your child grow and spend quality time with family.
How Can my Child Help?
The following list includes ways that your child can help cook in the kitchen based on their age. Children can continue to use and build on each skill. Some children may be able to complete more mature tasks while others may be unable to complete the suggested tasks for their age group. Do not be concerned as this list is only a guide and kids develop skills at different rates. Always use your own judgement when deciding what tasks your child can safely manage.
2-3 Years of Age
At this age, children can be eager to help and see what you are doing in the kitchen. These kids are developing their fine motor skills and require lots of supervision. Let them explore sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound. Children 2-3 can:
3-4 Years of Age
Children 3-4 years-old are continuing to develop their fine motor skills but can complete slightly more detailed tasks. Children 3-4 can:
4-6 Years of Age
Children 4-6 years-old can start to get picky and helping cook their meals may encourage them to try it. These kids are ready to use more tools in the kitchen. Children 4-6 can:
6-8 Years of Age
Children 6-8 years-old can start following the steps to simple recipes and can use some basic appliances with supervision. Kids 6-8 can:
8-11 Years of Age
Children 8-11 years-old are more coordinated and independent. These kids do not need as much supervision and are able to understand how to safely use appliances. Kids 8-11 can:
Kid-Friendly Kitchen Tools
Letting your kids use kitchen tools can be scary at first. It is important to teach children how to properly use kitchen tools and when to be cautious. Kid-friendly kitchen tool swaps can better fit into small hands or make cooking easier for kids. Some kitchen tools you may want to try are:
Tips to Get Kids Engaged
Some children may have no interest in cooking at all. Have patience and always celebrate their accomplishments and thank them for their help when they do get involved. Try your best not to fix what they do for example, not evenly spreading out pizza toppings or sauces, as this can be discouraging. Always taste what you make together and talk about the flavours, textures, and colours of the food. Some great ways to encourage children to get involved include starting an herb or vegetable garden together and allowing kids to choose recipes that they would like to try making and eating. Allow kids to play with their food and make their dishes into fun shapes and animals with lots of colour. Overall, have fun and allow your kids to make a mess and explore!
Not sure where to get started? Click here to book a virtual cooking class with our registered dietitian and chef for your kids or the family!
May is Celiac Awareness Month
By: Hannah Chapeskie, Dietetic Intern 2021
Did you know that 1 in 133 people live with celiac disease? It affects people of every age, sex, and ethnicity and is not the same as a gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder that impacts the digestive system. For people living with CD, consuming gluten (a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye) triggers the body to attack the lining of the small intestine. This damages the intestinal villi that line the small intestine and are essential for absorbing nutrients. As a result, people with unmanaged CD can become deficient in many vitamins and minerals. Have you or a loved one recently diagnosed with celiac disease? Are you looking for nutrition support?
Are you struggling to understand the in’s and outs of food allergies for yourself or your kiddo? If you are wanting more individualized support you can book with one of our dietitians. Read along for an in-depth explanation of IgE mediated allergies, the common allergens associated with this, food labelling info and tips, and the new recommendations for introducing common allergens for infants!
What is an IgE Mediated Food Allergy?
IgE mediated food allergies are a specific immune reaction to food proteins that results in the production of the antibody immunoglobulin E (also known as IgE) being produced. This creates a series of reactions and symptoms which can all trigger an anaphylactic response - which is a dangerous whole body allergic reaction.
IgE Mediated Symptoms may include the following:
What are the symptoms?
Are you feeling overwhelmed and anxious when thinking about how to properly balance your or your child’s diet? You’re not alone you can book with one of our dietitians to help with making sure your little one is getting the proper nutrients they need.
There have been identified foods that are commonly associated with these reactions also known as the priority food allergens. Priority food allergens are foods that are associated with 90% of allergic reactions in Canada.
Beans, Chickpeas, Peas, and Lentils!
Pulses have been proven to help reduce blood cholesterol levels, control blood sugars, and aid in weight management.
These nutrient packed pulses are extremely versatile. They can be used in breakfast, dessert, main meals, and snacks.
Halloween is often thought of by costumes, and candy! Now imagine you have a child or children with a food allergy, or multiple food allergies! For parents of kids with food allergies Halloween can be a terrifying night! As a registered dietitian that works with families with food allergies the Teal Pumpkin Project is an important initiative!
Have you heard of the teal pumpkin project before? The teal pumpkin project is a movement that is now global! This helps raise awareness of food allergies by creating a safer, more inclusive halloween for ALL trick and treaters! You can put a teal pumpkin on your doorstep, or print one out and put it in your window. This allows parents and kids to know your house is food allergy-friendly. This is something I will be raising awareness for in my community! I would love if you did too! Let's make halloween fun and inclusive for all the kids! You can still hand out your traditional candy and have a bucket of non-food items!
One way to help with this is to offer some non-food items along side the candy. Some examples could be:
If buying play dough make sure it is hypoallergenic. I had a lovely parent comment that their little one who gets anaphylaxis to play dough or temporary tattoos due to wheat and or soy in most of them.
Milk and Milk Alternatives have become quite the hot topic over the past few years. The purpose of this blog post is to explain the difference between each type of milk and educate you on why full fat milk is recommended for little ones under the age of 2 once transitioned from breastmilk or formula.
0% milk fat
1% milk fat
2% milk fat
3.25% milk fat
Lactose free milk -
Ultra-Filtered Milk (lactose free)
Fairlife - 1%, 2%, 3.25% and chocolate milk
Joyya milk - Canadian based ultra filtered milk products higher protein, lower sugar
Vegetarian Milk Sources
Made from water and almonds typically soaked overnight and then pulsed and strained
Coconut milk is made by grating the white inner flesh of the coconut (meat or the kernel) and mixing it with the shredded coconut pulp with a small amount of hot water and blending it followed by straining out any pieces so it is smooth.
Milk and Milk Alternatives Nutritional Content Chart
What is FPIES?
FPIES stands for Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome. FPIES is a rare non-IgE mediated food allergy and the symptoms are different than other IgE food allergies. An FPIES diagnosis can be extremely overwhelming, confusing, frustrating and taxing. It is important to know you are NOT alone! You need a good team of professionals to help you through the next year or more of your little one’s life to ensure they are healthy and well supported. If you’re looking for more individualized support for your child click here to book an appointment with our paediatric dietitian.
FPIES symptoms are often misdiagnosed as acid reflux, gas, food poisoning or the stomach flu. Common symptoms can include: repetitive vomiting (severe/projectile), repetitive diarrhea, blood pressure changes, dehydration, lethargy, and extreme paleness which many parents call shock syndrome. Often infants and children struggle to meet weight and height goals while dropping percentiles until a non-reactive baseline diet is found.
One common risk factor for FPIES is a family history of allergies. 40-80% of children with FPIES have a family history of allergies, which may be food allergies, environmental allergies, hay fever, and/or eczema.