Fun Ways to Cook With Toddlers

Hi, friends!

As you know, we love to cook with our little guy. He thinks it’s a lot of fun and we’re hoping all of his exposure to food will help him become a more adventurous eater, which is just one of many reasons why we love Blue Apron so much and why I am so excited to partner with them once again on this blog post.

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New to Blue Apron? Here’s what they are all about…

Blue Apron delivers all the farm-fresh ingredients you need, right to your doorstep, in exactly the right proportions, which makes cooking with a toddler that much easier. I don’t need to rummage through our cabinets looking for specific ingredients or take the time to measure each and every one of them while trying to simultaneously occupy a busy/maniac toddler. And you don’t need to take any trips to the grocery store, which is a serious time-saver in itself. There also isn’t any waste from unused ingredients, so you don’t waste money either. (Blue Apron is actually working to develop a sustainable food system. Check out their mission here.) Basically, you order your meals online and they’re shipped for free right to your front door. Everything is delivered in a refrigerated box so ingredients stay fresh even if you’re not at home when your package arrives.

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Blue Apron offer two types of plans:

  • The 2-Person Plan will set you up with one delivery a week, each with three inventive meals for two. Each week, the culinary team creates six new recipes for this plan, and you will be sent a curated menu of three recipes based on your dietary preferences.
  • The Family Plan is perfect for feeding a family of four. With this plan you can opt to receive one or two deliveries per week, each delivery consisting of two meals to be served family-style.

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Each menu is between 500-800 calories per person and all meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less. Blue Apron now ships to most of the country and there’s no commitment””you can skip or cancel the service at any time. We especially love that Blue Apron is adding new recipes all the time, so we always have something new and exciting to try in the kitchen!

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Blue Apron also offers a recycling program. There are two ways to recycle Blue Apron packaging: Use the recycling locator to find recycling options in your community or return your packaging for free to Blue Apron via USPS. Learn more here.

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FYI: The Meatball Ragout with Swiss Chard pictured above was so darn tasty and easy to make (and clean up) since it was a one-dish meal. Love that.

If you’re curious about Blue Apron and want to give it a try (maybe your little one would love it too?), here’s some incentive! ***The first 50 readers will get two free meals on their first Blue Apron order! Just click here!***

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Ok, now that you know what Blue Apron is all about, let me tell you about some of our favorite ways to get Quinn involved in the kitchen!

Washing fresh produce – Quinn could do this for hours (he also loves washing his hands), so it’s a great way to keep him occupied while I get us set up to cook together.

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Putting ingredients into bowls – Oh, how Q-Man loves this task! I cut up veggies and then he puts them into mixing bowls, piece by piece.

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This keeps him occupied for quite awhile and he really likes to do it. Plus, playing with the various ingredients is so great for getting him comfortable with new foods, which often translates to mealtime.

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And, of course, putting ingredients into bowls goes beyond just veggies. With Blue Apron, the ingredients are already prepared and measured, so Quinn can just pour them in!

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Tearing greens and picking stems off fresh herbs – This is the perfect task for a toddler since the pieces don’t have to be perfect and it’s good for their coordination!

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“Seasoning” – Another cooking favorite! Give Quinn a salt and pepper shaker, and he’s a happy camper!

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Although, the potatoes below were already thoroughly seasoned with garlic powder and a mini meltdown ensued because we had different ideas about how much “seasoning” they needed. Haha!

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Taste-testing – As I mentioned above, playing with food has helped Quinn become much more curious about new foods.

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Mal and I are the least picky eaters you’d ever meet, so we’re trying our hardest to raise our little guy the same way. No picky eaters in our house!

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Quinn “taste-tests” almost everything he touches when we cook, so we’re definitely making progress. For instance, he loved celery with peanut butter the other day. Prior to that, he wouldn’t even touch celery. He actually use to cry if I put it on his plate!

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Adding toppings – Quinn loves pizza night because he gets to add all of the toppings to our crust. I typically spread on the sauce, but then just let him go to town with the various ingredients. He usually makes a huge mess, but Murphy cleans up most of it!

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Placing and spreading ingredients onto a baking sheet – Quinn has a blast doing this and is often very enthusiastic with his spoon!

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Uh oh! We lost a few potatoes.

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Time to roll up the sleeves!

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He’s so darn cute.

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Cleaning up – Gotta teach them young! A few tasks Quinn helps me with: Putting food scraps into the trash.

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Putting dirty dishes into the sink and putting away silverware.

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Questions of the Day

Do your kids help you in the kitchen? What’s their favorite activity? 

26 Comments

  1. I made the meatball Ragout last night! I am too much of a control freak and don’t let either of my kids ( 3 and 18 months ) help me in the kitchen. You make it look so easy. I really should start, because I don’t want them to be picky eaters either…

  2. My son loves to help in the kitchen and I’m so happy to have him involved. Exposing kids to food early creates a positive relationship with food and is a fun activity that leads to a tasty end result!

  3. I don’t have any kiddos, but as a dietitian, I am so on board with getting kids into the kitchen. It is such a great way to get them those food exposures and can be just plain fun! I can’t wait until I have some little helpers of my own!

  4. omg William LOVES helping in the kitchen!!! i used to be so stressed with trying to cook breakfast and dinner because he is so clingy – one of my friends told me the pull a step ladder in the kitchen and their kiddo “helps” – it has been life changing! i’m hoping it will make william be a more adventurous eater as well… haha

  5. My son help me making cake (when I make some). I didn’t try to get him as involved with other meals because it usually involve chopping and stove top heating and I find it more difficult (dangerous) to have him near me. Anyhow, he always want to make cakes, so we play “pretend to make cake” often, which is a lot of fun too!

  6. I think it is so important to get kids in the kitchen so they can really appreciate the food they eat and learn how to make healthy foods taste good!

  7. This is adorable! With my little, if I’m struggling finding something for her to help with, I will often get her a bowl and let her make her own “thing.” Flour, water, food coloring, etc. A bit wasteful, but it is hard to kick her out of the kitchen when the meal is mostly stovetop things!

  8. I don’t have kids but I LOVE Blue Apron. At first I felt guilty about all the packaging, but then I realized I use packaging for everything I cook, and with Blue Apron I didn’t throw out wasted food. And the ice packs will be great for coolers at the beach this summer.

  9. Such great tips, he is SO adorable! It’s great that he loves to help you in the kitchen. I think he is only a few months older than my twins. I couldn’t imagine them doing any of those things right now, but I’m sure they will get there soon!

  10. I’ve tried Blue Apron before, and we liked it. That’s neat that your son helps out so much. I should’ve started young with my kids, because now when I ask for help, no one wants to do it. So, good for you!

  11. My son is also 22 months and would just grab at the food and try and eat it. How do you get Quinn to understand what he is doing?

  12. la la love this post! My daughter is about Quinn’s age and I would love to get her to “help” in the kitchen. With me at work all the time, I think this is a good way to get stuff done at home but still spend quality time with her. Shes a pretty adventurous eater so I’m sure this will help keep things the same. (i hear things can change and I honestly love that she tries and loves everything) thanks for the post!

  13. Quinn is so cute! Really pleased that he is trying more foods now and getting him involved in cooking is a great was to get him interested in more things. Loving that you are raising a non-picky eater, this is my dream when I have kids!

  14. Hi Tina, can you tell me who makes Quinn’s cups? My son needs something with straws and yours look perfect. Thanks!

  15. Hi Tina,
    I rarely comment on anything, but wanted to say a couple things! I think it’s AWESOME that you guys are letting Quinn be adventurous with food since he is so picky. I myself do not have any kids (I’m 26) but am a very picky eater. I’m quite convinced that I’m a super-taster because I cannot stand anything even remotely bitter (coffee, grapefruit, arugula… EW). I just wanted to say that Quinn could just end up being picky- and there isn’t anything wrong with that! I feel like parents are hard on themselves (and get judged) if they have picky kids, but it might not have anything to do with lack of trying! You can’t change genes. My siblings are not picky eaters, so I know it has nothing to do with how we were raised. Trust me, I wish I wasn’t… life would be so much easier! ha I hope this brings comfort to anyone with picky eaters!

  16. I think you should call these pointers about doing stuff with Quinn – Q-Tips. And yes, I’m pretty proud I came up with that. 🙂 Although I don’t have kids (yet), I love hearing about the things you’re doing with Quinn – he’s really lucky to have you and Mal as parents!

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