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Stirring Up Fun

Learn why simplicity and creativity are key ingredients for cooking with kids.

Some families cook with their kids often, but for others, just thinking about it is overwhelming. If it’s not something you’re used to or you could use some fresh ideas, we have good news. With expert advice on how to keep things fun and easy, you’ll find cooking with kids can be a positive experience and help them to make better choices.

As a Registered Dietitian for Warren County Combined Health District, Brianna (Bri) King helps people of all ages, educating them on nutrition and advocating for healthier choices and lifestyles. She not only advises vulnerable families in the county, she takes her nutrition counseling on the road—everywhere from school health classes to senior centers, teaching people in the community about nutrition. Part of her job is working directly with kids, so she has plenty of ideas for getting your kids in the kitchen and even shared some kid-friendly recipes. 

Bri believes in keeping things as simple as possible, especially for families who are already overwhelmed, stressed, or always in a rush. 

Even if they only help with one thing, Bri encourages parents to start when their kids are young. “Let your kids do some stirring, even when they’re too young to do much in the kitchen. Then when they’re ready for more, anything that involves using their hands is great. Sometimes it can be messy and gooey, but kids love it—that's part of the fun,” says Bri.

Cooking is not only fun for kids, it’s educational and can lead to an all-around healthier lifestyle. They’re more likely to try foods they helped make, and as a bonus, it’s a good time to talk and bond with your kids as you work on creating something together. 

Bri points out how much there is to learn in the kitchen when you cook with your kids: “Take the time to talk about what you’re making, there's a lot of science involved. While cooking, and especially baking, they begin to understand how ingredients all come together to create the right consistency. And of course math comes into play too—it’s a great opportunity to learn how to do basic measurements.”

Getting kids involved at the grocery store is beneficial too. Bri suggests working on building better shopping habits and teaching your kids where the healthy foods are. Her own grocery store strategy focuses heavily on produce and protein. “I start shopping in the produce section, getting plenty of color and variety. I work my way to the proteins next, building and planning everything else around what I'm buying in those two sections,” she says. “Another good habit is skipping the snack food and sugary drink aisles.” 

If you’d like to learn more about Warren County Combined Health District or invite Bri to your school or organization to talk about nutrition and exercise, visit

Ready to cook with your kids? Choose something easy or try something a little more challenging. As long as they’re in the kitchen helping and learning, that’s the whole point. Check out the recipes Bri shared to get started!

Power Balls  

Makes 6 servings


1/2 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup peanut butter (Can sub Wowbutter or other nut-free butter)

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (may also choose sugar-free maple syrup)

1 tablespoon dark chocolate or sugar-free chocolate chips, optional 


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Use a spoon or tablespoon to evenly divide the mixture into 6 balls. 
  4. Use your hands to form the ball.
  5. Serve or refrigerate for a snack later.

Tip: Taste-testers recommend doubling the recipe to enjoy all week or share!

High-Protein Banana Ice Cream

Makes 4 servings


4 ripe bananas

3/4 cup plain yogurt (use dairy-free if needed)

2 scoops vanilla protein powder of choice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (may also choose sugar-free maple syrup) 


  1. Peel and slice the bananas and place in a sealed container; freeze for 2 hours.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. 
  3. Process until just creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the processor, if necessary.
  4. Serve immediately. 

Chicken Tortilla Roll-ups with Roasted Garlic Hummus 



1 cup grilled chicken strips, frozen

2  tortillas 

2 cups shredded romaine


Garlic Hummus

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 large lemon

1/4 cup well-stirred tahini  

1-2 small garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

2 to 3 tablespoons water 

Dash onion powder

Dash garlic powder

Dash red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini and lemon juice and process for 1 minute. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then process for 30 seconds more.
  2. In a skillet on medium-high heat, add the olive oil and minced garlic (choose amount according to taste) and cook for approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Add half of the chickpeas, cooked garlic, and spices to the food processor and blend 1 minute. 
  4. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, then add remaining chickpeas and process until thick and quite smooth; 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. With the food processor turned on, slowly add 3 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons olive oil until you reach the perfect consistency.
  6. Microwave/heat chicken according to directions on bag. Let cool for 2 minutes.
  7. Heat tortillas between paper towels in the microwave just slightly to make sure they are pliable (approximately 15-30 seconds). 
  8. Lay out the tortilla and spread on 1-2 tablespoons hummus, then add in chicken and lettuce. Assemble ingredients to middle of the tortillas and roll them up. Enjoy!

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Makes about 12 bites


Cooking spray

1 medium zucchini

1/4 cup low-sodium tomato sauce 

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (may use nutritional yeast or vegan cheese as dairy-free options)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Top each slice with 1/2 teaspoon tomato sauce and 1 teaspoon mozzarella.
  3. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 8 minutes.