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Experts Say Cooking With Kids Can Benefit Food Choices

El Centro, California (NAPSI) - For many parents of young children, introducing healthy foods can  be a struggle. A recent national survey reported that parents believe that the  media has a negative influence on their children’s eating habits.

The  Pampered Chef®, in partnership with the Family Resiliency Center,  has found that cooking together helps create family traditions and teaches  children to make healthier selections.

“Involving children in the mealtime process can have a positive impact on  their food choices,” explains Dr. Barbara Fiese, Professor and Director of  the FamilyResiliency   Center at the University of Illinois.   “Children who learn cooking skills and help with grocery shopping are more  likely to enjoy nutritious foods, like fruits and vegetables.”

The Pampered Chef, the largest direct seller of kitchen tools, is  committed to helping these families come together around the table each  night. Through its partnership with the FamilyResiliency    Center, they have  developed tips that make it easier to include kids in the mealtime process.

• Reduce screen time. Cut down  on children’s exposure to food advertising by limiting screen time, including  game and entertainment websites that promote unhealthy foods.

• Start the conversation. Talk  to children before and during grocery shopping about what are healthy foods  and why you are buying them. Help older children read and understand food  labels.

• Involve everyone. Kids as young  as 2 can help with mealtime preparations, such as cleaning counters and  tables and helping with napkins and utensils. Older children can mix and  measure ingredients and read recipes.

• Make it fun. Use your time in  the kitchen together to talk about how foods look, smell and feel. Children  learn best when they can utilize all their senses.

• Create memories. Share family  stories about learning to cook, while spending time together in the kitchen.

• Make mealtimes that are quick, simple  and affordable. Try this family-friendly recipe for Korean BBQ Pork with  Crunchy Wontons, which replaces rice with crisp wontons made in the  microwave:

Korean BBQ Pork with Crunchy  Wontons


16 square wonton wrappers (3  in./7.5 cm)

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded

2 medium carrots, peeled

1 large red bell pepper

1 medium onion

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb/450  g), trimmed

3 garlic cloves

1½ Tbsp (22 mL) canola oil, divided

1 cup (250 mL) snow peas, trimmed

3 green onions, cut into 1?-in.  (4-cm) pieces

½ cup (125 mL) Korean BBQ Sauce

¼ cup (50 mL) apple jelly

Additional sliced green onion for  garnish (optional)

1. Stack wontons and cut them into  ¼-in. (6-mm) strips with Chef’s Knife. Separate strips and place in Small  Ridged Baker. Lightly spray them with canola oil using Kitchen Spritzer and  toss to coat.

2. Microwave strips, uncovered, on  HIGH 3−4 minutes or until they begin to brown, stirring every minute.

Spread strips over Parchment Paper  to cool.

3. Coarsely chop jalapeño using  Food Chopper. Cut carrots lengthwise into quarters, then crosswise into  thirds.

4. Cut off top of bell pepper and  scoop out seeds. Wedge pepper using Veggie Wedger and cut wedges crosswise  into thirds. Wedge onion; cut wedges crosswise in half.

5. Slice pork lengthwise into four  strips. Cut strips crosswise into ¼-in. (6-mm) pieces. Mix pork and garlic  pressed with Garlic Press in Classic Batter Bowl.

6. Heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the oil  in 11- or 12-in. (28- or 30-cm) Skillet over medium-high heat 1−3  minutes or until shimmering.

7. Cook pork without stirring 3−5  minutes or until browned. Stir pork and cook 1−2 minutes; remove it  from Skillet.

8. Add remaining  ½ Tbsp (7 mL) oil to Skillet. Add  vegetables; cook and stir 2−3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in  pork, sauce and jelly; cook 1−2 minutes or until heated through.

9. Divide wonton strips among  serving plates and top with pork mixture. Garnish with additional sliced  green onion, if desired.

Serves 6
  U.S. Nutrients per serving: Calories 280, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1 g,  Cholesterol 50 mg, Sodium 400 mg, Carbohydrate 35 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 20 g

Cook’s Tips: Removing the silver skin keeps the pork tender during  cooking. For a change of pace, 1 lb (450 g) boneless, skinless chicken  breasts, cut into thin strips, can be substituted for the pork tenderloin.

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*Food  marketing to children and adolescents: What do parents think?” by the Rudd Center  for Food Policy & Obesity.