Make time this season for baking cookies with your kids – you’ll be glad you did!
By: Jodie Shield, RD
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, adding extra shopping, parties, and travel to an already jam-packed schedule probably leaves little time for baking cookies with your child. I asked some busy parents to come up with a list of reasons why you should bake with your kids over the holidays. Here are the top five reasons to add baking to your list of holiday activities:
- It’s a family tradition. Baking together enables you to spend quality time with each other. Your house will feel warm and cozy and smell terrific too! You can talk to your child about your own family traditions, while taking the opportunity to pass down your family’s heirloom recipes – like how to bake Grandma’s gingerbread house. Need some recipe ideas? Check out my Classic Cut-Out Sugar Cookie recipe that I developed for Kmart Playdate Place.
- You can teach basic cooking skills. You don’t have to be a pastry chef in order to bake with your child. The key is to keep your baking project simple and fun. Start with fundamentals like how to sift flour or crack an egg. Rolling cookie dough is everybody’s favorite.
- Just for the health of it. Many holiday cookies and cakes (especially those that are store-bought) are loaded with fat and sugar. If you bake, your own goodies, you can show your child how to make tasty and healthy substitutions to trim the calories and boost the nutritional value. For example, you can substitute applesauce for oil in your favorite brownie recipe and save about 1,000 calories and 109 grams of fat per batch.
- Two for the price of one. Family baking projects can perform double duty and save you time. Have your kids help you bake cookies for the office Christmas party, a charity bake sale, or as gifts for neighbors and relatives.
- Prevent the stir-crazies. Over the holidays many kids are out of school for at least a week – away from their friends and often inside when the weather gets bad. Beat indoor boredom with a day of baking. Turn off the TV, put away the video games, and grab and apron. Your child will have a blast rolling out the dough and spreading frosting. Best of all, everyone will enjoy eating their creations.
So if you find yourself really pressed for time, try not to skip the baking altogether. It doesn’t really matter what you bake or if you bake it from scratch. The goodies may be gobbled up in a minute, but the memories of your little one grinning and sporting a chocolate-smudged face will last a lifetime. What holiday cookies do you like to bake with your kids?