It’s the new year and a great time to set some family health and fitness goals. This year, why not encourage your kids to sharpen their cooking skills?
Research shows the benefits of inviting kids into the kitchen are numerous. From building self-confidence and increasing imagination, to enhancing reading and comprehension skills and improving math and science abilities, cooking sharpens many skill sets. It also gives kids time to bond with their siblings and parents along with encouraging collaboration and communication. So, as caregivers, why wouldn’t we encourage our kids to help with family meal preparation?
Cooking is also a great way to inspire children to try new – healthy – food options. When kids are involved in determining what ingredients are going to be included in a meal, they are more likely to try the end results. Simply put, kids are eager to taste the fruits of their labor – even if the fruits are literal produce!
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona understands the benefits of family cooking. That’s why the company created the Walk On! Kids Cooking Challenge. For the past nine years, the company has encouraged children and families to cook together and try nutrient-rich ingredients like quinoa, cabbage, avocados, beets and zucchini, that kids (and many adults) may have shied away from in the past.
This year’s contest is accepting recipe entries Jan. 1–23, 2019. In order to be considered, recipes should be a delicious, nutritious and kid-friendly side dish.
Contest guidelines say recipe submittals must be:
- An original recipe for a hot or cold side dish
- Include at least one fruit and/or vegetable
- Be able to be cooked within 20 minutes (not including prep time)
Any child between the ages of 9 and 12, living anywhere in the state of Arizona, is eligible to participate. Recipes should be submitted online at www.walkonaz.comany time before the contest ends on Jan. 23, 2019. Plus, kids can submit more than one tasty and healthy creation for consideration, if they have more than one scrumptious concoction!
After the online submittal process, the top five recipes will be selected by a panel of experts based on nutritional value, taste and originality. Finalists will then be invited to sample their culinary creations to eager fans at a Phoenix Suns home game Feb. 4 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. After the cooking demonstrations, the recipes and a short video from the five finalists will be posted online at www.walkonaz.comfor a public vote. Voting will be open from Feb. 4-15.
The grand prize winner will not only earn the title of the state’s top kid chef, they will also win a new bike!
Healthy food, great prizes and a more engaged family – looks like the perfect recipe to start the year off right!
By: Myrna Collins, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Myrna Collins is a health promotion executive at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and represents the Walk On! Kids Cooking Challenge. She loves finding new ways to eat healthy foods and be active, especially when it comes to her three children. .