Cooking with kids

With our kids potentially home for the summer and possibly into the fall, what better way to engage them than to get them involved in the kitchen. I know this might sound like the last thing you want to do as it may seem… dare I say it… more work for you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember the countless number of skills we have taught our children always begin with small ‘baby’ steps and progress according to your child’s interest and capabilities. Working with your child in the kitchen is no different.

Meal prepping is a skill that is learned and gets better with practice. However, when we cook with our kids, we often prep everything for them. Here are some ideas for how to include your children in meal planning and meal preparation, which are not only fun but simple too! 


• Talk about individual preferences with your child and also the importance of being open to trying new ingredients. Ask if they would be open to tasting a new dish that has some familiar ingredients and some that are different. If they end up liking the new ingredients, your family will have more options for future meals. 

• If age-appropriate, encourage your child to be the Director of the Shopping List. You can also dictate your shopping list to your child and have them write out your weekly shopping list. Spelling isn’t an essential part of this task, and phonetic spelling is genuinely okay. However, you could ask your child to try to find the item in the kitchen and copy the spelling down… then it will become like a game for them.  


• Observe what sparks interest for your child in the kitchen, as this will be useful as to what prep task your child is more likely to enjoy. If your child likes to press buttons and see how things work, have them toss in fruits, veggies, nuts, and nut milk into the blender to see how the items transform into a smoothie. 

• Even in the summer, sometimes your week could be too busy. If this is the case, try to set a routine by committing to 1-2 hours every weekend to get your children involved with one of your meals. Doing this will not only increase their proficiency in the kitchen but will also make for some quality time.  

Easy Summer Recipe 

Orange Dreamsicle Power Pops  

                                                                     by Chef Maja Liotta 


1 can of full fat coconut milk 

1 small can of coconut cream (you can buy this at Mana) 

2 oranges, cuties, tangelos or whatever fresh orangy citrus you have, peeled and seeds removed

¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt 

Agave nectar (to taste) 

3 table spoon Chia seeds 


Blend all ingredients

Pour into molds, freeze and enjoy! 

Join Swell Mom (Me-Shell Mijangos) and Lilikoi Creations (Chef Maja Liotta) for free ZOOM weekly cooking classes appropriately named, “Thyme to Cook with your Kids.” To register go to

Image Credit: Thyme to Cook with your Kids

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Me-Shell Mijangos has lived on the beautiful island of Maui since 2002 and is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She enjoys being a mom to her amazing son, whom she says, “Teaches me all the important things about life.” She is co-owner of Swellness Coaching (, which provides online programs, a swellness blog, private coaching, and group coaching retreats to exotic places all over the world. To visit their Facebook page go to Swellness ~ Learn Live Love BLISS or call 800.399.MAUI to set up a complimentary Discovery Call.


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