Cooking instructions

Cooking for children

When cooking for children, care should be taken to ensure a varied and healthy diet. (Photo by: FamVeldman / Depositphotos)

An atmosphere at the common family table that is open to many dishes and tastes forms the cornerstone for the future eating culture of the little ones and at the same time makes it easier for them to adopt a healthy and varied eating behavior.

Because always remember that the little ones are first and foremost imitators of us big ones.

Recommendations and tips

Tip: The “Optimized Mixed Food”, as developed by the Research Institute for Child Nutrition in Dortmund (FKE), fulfills all the important criteria so that the little ones are completely cared for.

Behind this is the further development of an exemplary 7-day meal plan for 4-6 year old children and for 13-14 year old adolescents in the 1990s. It has been optimized in terms of energy and nutrient intake and has been adapted to the latest scientific recommendations ever since.

For the weekly plan, this means: Cook two cold and one warm main meals for your kids per day, plus a maximum of two small snacks in between.

The main components of warm meals are potatoes, rice or pasta, plus plenty of vegetables or a raw vegetable salad. A small portion of low-fat meat – according to FKE, as a “side dish” so to speak – is only needed two to three times a week.

Once a week there is a meal with fish on the menu. On the other days, the FKE recommends vegetarian dishes with legumes (e.g. as a stew), potatoes (e.g. as a gratin), rice, pasta or other cereals (e.g. as a casserole).

And what does that mean in practice? “Vegetable grouches” are popular among children, but they can be easily “tricked”. Instead, use more fruit, potatoes or mashed vegetables, which are hidden on the table in soups and sauces, for example.

Tip: Simply work grated carrots, kohlrabi, and zucchini into the popular meatballs.

Pasta is a popular children’s food and for some is the only “staple food” at times, but variety is possible here too. Tip: Mix colored pasta with whole wheat and serve with a vegetable sauce instead of the classic tomato sauce.

Season child-friendly

Be careful when seasoning food! The little ones in particular have a much more intense taste perception than we adults, less is often more here.

In any case, fresh, mild herbs such as:

  • parsley
  • dill
  • Lemon balm
  • chervil

Spicy things like pepper, paprika, garlic, onions, curry, chives or ginger have no place in the dishes of small children.

Tip: Set aside a portion in good time before you finally season the food to taste.

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