Kids Can Cook & Families Can Have More Quality Time!

Kids Can Cook & Families Can Have More Quality Time!

Wed 29 Jan 2014

Story by Cara Perkins

At Healthy Now…Healthy Later we have come up with lots of ways to help with both of these challenges – kids cooking and families having more quality time together. With time and money being limited these days, healthy eating can still be achieved with a little organization and an eagerness to try new ideas. Anyone can get on the right track to living a much healthier life through food.

We encourage parents to hold weekly fun meetings, with their children, to create a meal plan, using what you already have around the house, so that grocery shopping is kept to a minimum. This way, it will be easy to take the kids to the grocery store so they can help make food decisions. After the decisions have been made, the weekly meal times are a lot easier if there is some precooking done, as a family, during the weekend. We highly encourage cooking larger meals than necessary in order to easily pack a lunch for the next day, save some extra food in the refrigerator for left over night, or freeze foods for later in the season. Left over night and sandwich night are an important part of the weekly meal plan as well. These food ideas come in handy when the family’s schedule is busier than usual.

I talk to people about health every week and have yet to find a person who is feeling worse or who is regretting the decision to switch to a healthier eating lifestyle. Quality of life has become so difficult for many folks to think they can achieve these days. If you are suffering, it is possible to feel better and improve your life.

The biggest challenge we see in kids has to do with picky eating. This is one of our specialties! Kids need to be exposed to lots of different foods. We have a system when working with kids – look, smell, lick, taste. We go one step at a time and, many times, kids find new favorite foods. We also talk about how to achieve the two things that kids are most concerned with in their younger years. 1). Eating healthy makes you grow bigger. 2). Eating healthy makes you run faster! These phrases always get their attention. We also talk about how, if you eat healthy, you won’t get sick as much, won’t have to go to the doctor as much, and won’t have to take yucky medicine.

I started studying different ways to be sure my kids knew how to eat healthy and take care of themselves before my first son was born in 1994. Since then, I have taught my sons, their friends and, now, my nieces and nephew how to cook. I encourage people to start with one small habit at a time and build a new habit each week until the habits become a new lifestyle.

We have been holding kids cooking classes at the Fort Worth Food Park ( and have a lot of success teaching kids new food lessons. We’ve had kids try and find new fruits and vegetables that they like, try new combinations of foods, and experiment with different seasonings to get just the right taste added to make good foods great. The parent feedback has been overwhelming. Parents are saying that their kids want to go to the grocery store, help cook at home, remind the parents about kitchen safety and are enjoying eating their vegetables.

About the author: Cara Perkins is the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation Ambassador for Fort Worth, TX, USA. Healthy Now…Healthy Later was started in 2010 as Cara began her journey with a weekly radio show on The show was Cara’s gift to herself for her 40th birthday. Check Cara out at You can also find Healthy Now…Healthy Later all over social media on Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter and Facebook by searching caraperkinshnhl. We also have free iPhone and Android apps that can be found by searching Healthy Now…Healthy Later. Cara always says, “we ALL have health in common, so we might as well make it fun!”


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