Top tips for little chefs
Getting little hands busy in the kitchen is a great way to improve their motor skills and creating an interest in fresh food. Mums share their tips for getting messy in the kitchen
Bashing and smashing
If you have a pestle and mortar, let your children bash up spices for you to use in main meals.
Ripping and snapping
De-seed your peppers then let your little one have a go at ripping them into pieces. Mushrooms can be torn up too. Having asparagus? See if they can snap them!
Squashing and rolling
Get a mini rolling pin and let them have a go at pastry or cookie dough – they'll love it, even if you do have to start them off.
Hunting and gathering
Know what you're cooking? See if they can spot the vegetables you need for the recipe in the veg drawer.
There are loads of simple dishes your toddler could help you to make. Here are some Gurgle mums' favourites...
'When I have a couple of really ripe avocados, I chop them into small cubes and let Sam mush them up (we have a mini masher!) with about half a tub of Greek yogurt. Then we squeeze in a bit of lime juice and he snaps a red pepper into bits for dipping.'
Julia, mum to Sam, 3
'April and I love making mini pizzas. We cheat and buy the bases (and I grate the cheese), but then we talk about what we want to put on top and she does it all by herself, spreading the tomato sauce over the base, ripping up mushrooms and things, and piling everything on. They're not the prettiest, but she always eats all of it.'
Lindsey, mum to April, 2
'Now Aaron is old enough to not put everything straight in his mouth, he helps me make goujons. I slice chicken breasts into strips and put out dishes of flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs, and he dips and rolls each piece in turn for me to then shallow fry.'
Elli, mum to Aaron, 4
Layered yoghurt pots
'We made this so many times last summer. We get clear plastic cups, a big pot of vanilla yogurt and lots of fruit (banana, kiwi, berries and sliced peaches). Poppy spoons in the yogurt, then chooses a fruit to layer, more yogurt and so on. It makes a very pretty and healthy rainbowcoloured pudding!'
Kerry, mum to Poppy, 3