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Creating Menus
Child Friendly Activity

When you are deciding what meal to cook there are many factors to consider:-

  • Make sure your meal will look colourful when it is displayed on the plate.  For example donít choose all green vegetables, think about adding in other colours such as orange carrots or red peppers.
  • Think about the different tastes on the plate.  You need to ensure that there are lots of different flavours coming through to get your taste buds going. 
  • Think about the cost of the ingredients.  You should set yourself a budget of what you want to spend on a meal before you start and ensure you can buy all the ingredients within this. 
  • Try and use food that is in season as it will be cheaper to buy and easier to find.  You can learn more about what is in season by reading our Food in Season page. 
  • How much time have you got to prepare your meal?  Some meals take a few minutes whilst others take several hours to cook.  Make sure you take time into consideration so you and your family are not waiting hours for your meal to be ready or your guests arenít left with a rumbling tummy. 
  • Presentation is very important because there is an old saying ďWe eat with our eyesĒ.  If your meal is well presented and looks delicious youíve got off to a great start. 
    Child washing grapes
  • Plan ahead.  You may be able to buy more of some items if you know it will be used later in the week e.g. vegetables, meat, bread.  You could spend some time discussing the meals with your child, looking at your diary and plan a menu for the whole week.  Create a shopping list at the same time. 
  • If you are cooking for others have you checked whether there is anything that they donít like or are unable to eat due to allergies or other health reasons.  It is better to know in advance rather than embarrass them at the mealtime.
  • Have you got all the utensils you need to cook your chosen meal? You can find out more about different utensils you may need in our utensil section.
  • Make sure you have drinks on the table so you and your child are drinking plenty of fluid.  This helps avoid dehydration.
  • Is the meal you are planning to cook healthy and nutritious? You can find out more about this in our nutrition section.  To help you along the healthy lifestyle route you could try the ideas below:-
    Boy eating
  • Serve bigger portions of salad and vegetables so those eating your meal are filling up on the healthiest part of the meal.
  • You can do this with other food too.  For example if you are cooking a pasta meal you could have more pasta and less sauce. 
  • Try not to add additional salt when you are cooking. 
  • Make sure the meal is balanced and you have different food types on the plate.  You can find out more on our balance page.

 

Below are the child friendly items
Child Friendly Discuss creating menus with your child

Why donít you discuss these points with your child and then download the activity sheet and complete it with them using recipes from the search engine?

Child Friendly Activity sheet to learn about creating menus

This is a great activity sheet to help your child plan what food to cook.  Why don't you download it now and then help them complete it? Or let them have a go on their own and then you could display it in your kitchen.

 
Southampton City Council
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