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Holiday Food and Health Tip #1: Cooking with children during the holidays

Posted 10/27/2008

Getting kids involved in holiday food preparation is a great way to save time and foster holiday spirit, family traditions, healthy habits and safe cooking methods. Children as young as 3 years old are eager learners, and can help tear, wash, measure, roll, mash, stir, beat and pour. However, keep these important safety considerations in mind whenever children are in the kitchen:

  • Adult Supervision: Maintain full supervision around ovens, knives and bubbling pots. Don’t leave children on their own around these hazards.
  • Food Safety: Practice proper sanitation by washing hands, equipment and work surfaces often. Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods, and discourage sampling of foods made with raw eggs (cookie dough!). Use paper towels instead of dish towels to help prevent cross-contamination and the spread of harmful germs.
  • Ovens: Turn pot handles toward the back of your range top to prevent spills. Microwave ovens are an easy way to start children cooking. For safety, show them how to select microwave-safe dishes and containers, how to use potholders when removing them from the oven, and how to lift lids slowly. Never allow children to handle heavy pots or full containers that might spill.
  • Working Space: Put unused ingredients and equipment away immediately to prevent obstacles and clutter.

For more information on healthy eating and cooking, in southern Nevada contact Mary Wilson at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, (702) 257-5507 or Mary Wilson. In western Nevada, contact Kerry Seymour at (775) 784-4848 or email to Kerry Seymour.

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