Kitchen Tools

Once you have your kids on board for cooking, make sure you have the tools to get the job done right. That goes for everything from food to cooking utensils. If your experience in the kitchen has been limited up until now, you might explore taking a cooking class at your local community college or even investing in some basic general-interest how-to type cookbooks. You can also explore the resources listed in Appendix B in the back of this book for cooking and meal-planning information.

A good set of measuring tools for cooking and baking is essential. If they aren't in your kitchen already, purchase both liquid and dry measuring cups and spoons. Also important is an accurate gram and/or ounce scale for measuring portion sizes. Why measure? If you've fallen into the habit of dishing out heaping double portions, a scale can get you back on track. You may be surprised at how much a single serving really is once you start measuring.

By teaching your child how to accurately weigh portion sizes, she can learn to estimate servings more accurately while she's away from home. For example, three ounces of meat or poultry is similar in dimension to a deck of cards, while an ounce of cheese is about the size of an AA battery.

Always shop with a grocery list. Going in with no definite ideas of what you're going to purchase, particularly when you're hungry, can be an expensive and unhealthy proposition. Impulse buys can lead to extra fat, sugar, and cholesterol in your cart — and once it's purchased, you'll have a harder time just saying no.

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