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Heart Foundation keen to get kids back in the kitchen

Heart Foundation keen to get kids back in the kitchen

Inviting your kids into the kitchen can leave it covered in flour and sticky fingerprints, but the Heart Foundation is keen to see more Kiwi parents involve their children in the cooking.

Just in time for school holidays, the Heart Foundation has published a free cookbook titled Kids in the Kitchen, a collection of fun family recipes suited to children of all ages and abilities.

The new cookbook is designed for Kiwi kids to work alongside their parents or caregivers in the kitchen, at a time when many schools no longer teach the important life skill of cooking.

Heart Foundation nutritionist Asher Regan says cooking skills are a fundamental cornerstone to lifelong health and wellbeing.

“It is so important that parents involve their kids in food preparation as much as possible. It helps children learn about different ingredients and gain confidence in food preparation, but it also means they are more receptive to trying new foods and flavours.”

Regan, a qualified chef, says each Kids in the Kitchen recipe meets the Heart Foundation’s healthy criteria, although the book’s main purpose is to encourage children’s involvement with food preparation.

Kids in the Kitchen features a wide range of popular recipes suited to a variety of occasions, from birthday parties to school lunches. It also teaches children how to use key ingredients for multiple purposes. For example, the book includes a recipe for tortillas, which can then be used as pizza bases, dipping chips, or as part of a lunchbox snack food.

To ensure the recipes were appropriate for children, the Heart Foundation sought valuable feedback from the key audience – Kiwi kids.
Over a five-week period, Regan tested each recipe with the children of Pukeatua Primary School in Wainuiomata, Wellington. Their honest feedback helped Regan weed out some recipes and modify others.

Pukeatua Primary School was approached because of its involvement in the Garden to Table initiative, which teaches children to grow, harvest, cook and share food.

Teacher Carmel Kneepkens says the project was a great way to give the children exposure to a real life chef.

“Having them trial the cookbook was an opportunity for the children to learn new recipes and learn more about the nutritional qualities of the food we grow and cook.”

She says Asher’s presence at the school sparked discussion among some of the boys about how great it would be to become a chef.

“This was an excellent gauge for Asher and the Heart Foundation to see if the cookbook was effective, if the language and instructions were pitched suitably at a child’s level, and if our kids could follow the recipes. And also to see if the recipes were appealing to children.”

Kids in the Kitchen is free to download from and will be distributed to schools and early childhood education services around the country. To order a hardcopy, visit

The Heart Foundation want to see Kiwi kids in the kitchen, enjoying recipes from the new cookbook these school holidays. We have a $200 grocery voucher up for grabs - visit the Heart Foundation Facebook page for more details.


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