There’s no better season than summer for making time to kick back and explore new foods with your kids. Without the pressure of school schedules, it’s easy for busy parents to enjoy the pleasures of scratch cooking with kids.

Cooking together as a family is the easiest way to get your kids to eat a variety of healthy foods. Bonus, you’ll strengthen family connections, reduce stress at the dinner table, and teach your kids to make wise food choices. All it takes is an hour each week. That’s the kind of summer fun I can get into.

Ready to signup for a summer of scratch cooking? Here’s how to get started:

1. Schedule It!
Set aside one day each week to cook together with your kids.

2. Hit the Market.
Head out to your local farmers’ market and let your kids pick a new food that they’d like to cook together. Ask the farmer, “What are you eating this week?” They’ll tip you off to the freshest of the bunch.

3. Keep it Simple.
Make easy recipes that are big on flavor but low on effort. One of our favorites is Bitty Bites, no bake oatmeal cookies that are fun to personalize and perfect for hot summer days when you don’t want to turn on the oven. Watermelon popsicles are another easy way to beat summer heat.

4. Have Fun!
Put on your favorite summer soundtrack, relax, and let your kids take the lead on your recipes. Remember, it’s not about the perfect dish. It’s about the joy of spending quality time together.



A mother of two, Jennifer Tyler Lee is the author of The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin Random House/Avery 2014) and the creator of the award-winning series of healthy eating games, Crunch a Color®. Her family cooking adventures have been featured by Jamie Oliver, Rachael Ray, Laurie David, Pottery Barn Kids, and Whole Foods. She is a featured blogger at The Huffington Post and a regular contributor to the James Beard Award-Winning magazine, Edible.