Sign up for our new free Dessert Cookbook eBook, Fruit Tooth

  • We will never share or sell your information. You can unsubscribe at any time.

cooking 101

Kids Activity Guide

Cooking with herbs and spices can be a ton of fun, but sometimes it's difficult to introduce kids to new flavors. If you're working with a group that could benefit from a closer look at these taste boosters, check out this great activity guide.

  • cooking 101

    Become inspired by our pictures and recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts.

  • food and health

    We’ve gathered everything you need to know about the food and health connection including weight control, nutrition basics, and disease prevention.

  • food shopping

    Shop smart with our guides to new foods, label reading, grocery shopping, and more!

  • fun for kids

    Here are a few techniques to help kids get engaged in the kitchen including recipes that are kid-friendly and ideas for meal preparation.

  • myplate

    Supporting and promoting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the new healthy plate food icon from the USDA.

food projects, fun for kids, nutrition education resources »

Kids Activity Guide

Spice JarCooking with herbs and spices can be a ton of fun, but sometimes it’s difficult to introduce kids to new flavors. If you’re working with a group that could benefit from a closer look at these taste boosters, check out this great activity guide, excerpted from the Communicating Food for Health newsletter.

After all, it’s never too early to explore aromatic herbs and spices with kids.

Food Science Lab 101 — Making Sense of Scents

Here’s a fun scent experiment to do with children.

Explore the sense of smell by setting out small bowls of herbs and spices on the table – use ones with rich aromas like cinnamon, basil, garlic, ginger, chocolate, cocoa, nutmeg, vanilla, etc.

Allow your tot(s) to take a big sniff of each bowl and let them taste a tiny pinch of each one. Let them describe the scents and tastes of each one.

Also, write out the names of each herb and spice for the child(ren) to see.

Together, you can cook or bake a recipe using some of these aromatics — it’s a fun way to transfer knowledge about the spice rack to the plate.

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, LDN, author of The Essential Guide to Healthy Healing Foods.

To turn this activity from something you do at home to something you do in a classroom or at a presentation, follow these steps…

Step One: Choose your herbs/spices and method of presentation.

SpicesMeasure portions of your chosen aromatics into jars that travel well, or put them in ziplocs and move them over to bowls once you get to your site. Clear containers are best, if you can get them, because they add a visual component to the activity.

Step Two: Label your containers clearly.

Use an index card propped against each bowl or taped to the table in front of each bowl. You could also write the names on masking tape and place them directly on the container.

Step Three: Choose a recipe.

You probably can’t combine all the featured herbs and spices in a single recipe, so focus on a few that work well together and really enhance a dish. Depending on the complexity of the recipe –and simpler is better here — you could have the children divide into groups and prepare the recipe together. This, of course, would work better with cinnamon apples than a cinnamon layer cake, so decide what you want to do based on the abilities of your group.

Step Four: Discuss.

What did the children notice about each scent? What did it remind them of? How might they want to use the herb or spice in their snacks and meals? Brainstorm ways to use these foods healthfully.

Discuss making the recipe. What was hard? What was easy? Why?

For more great practitioner resources, check out the Communicating Food for Health newsletter. It’s chock-full of the latest ideas and tons of nutrition news.

Communicating Food for Health Newsletter

Ideas for Your August Newsletter

Is your August newsletter ready yet? Today, I’d like to share some of our top ideas for an August newsletter. Feel free to try them out and let me know what you think!

Easy Summer Dinner: Lamb Kabobs

Hey, remember when we did grilling 101 earlier this week? Let’s follow up with a simple and totally delicious dinner that your clients can make on a grill!

A Beginner’s Guide to Grilling

The temperatures are continuing to rise, and in all this heat, who wants to turn on the oven or stove? Help your clients beat the heat with this fun guide to grilling.

Shopping for Whole Grains: A Guide

By now, your clients have probably heard all about the health benefits of whole grains. But sometimes, knowledge about why a food is healthful isn’t quite enough. How to start eating more of these whole grain foods is also key.

Mediterranean Delights — Make Grilled Sicilian Eggplant Rolls

The fun continues with more free previews of the Mediterranean Diet education program…

Why Try the Mediterranean Diet?

Get a free handout while taking a closer look at the new Mediterranean Diet program…

Teaching a Cooking Class: Tips and Tricks

I have been teaching a string of cooking classes recently, and boy have I ever learned a lot! Here are the tried-and-true secrets that take a presentation from good to great…

Fruit and Vegetable Challenge

As health educators, we spend a lot of time making nutrition lessons engaging for our clients. Well, now it’s our turn. Are you ready to take the challenge? | | |