Whether it is holiday cookies, perogies, roast goose, latke or tamales, foods are an important ingredient of holiday celebrations, but so is teaching them how to do so safely!
Teaching children to cook your family’s recipes can impart ethnic identity and culture, and offers a sense of accomplishment for young chefs. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some tips to keep holiday feasting fun and healthy:
- When preparing food for a holiday celebration, follow food safety guidelines. Bacteria are often present in raw foods. Fully cook meats and poultry, and thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits.
- While you’re teaching your children family recipes, also teach them about good food safety. Wash your hands frequently, and make sure children do the same.
- Make sure that taste doesn’t include raw eggs or other products designed to be eaten after cooking.
- If you offer your helper a taste, be sure to wash the spoon before putting it back into the food.
- During preparations for a party, the refrigerator and freezer can become crowded with sweets, roasts and other goodies, but don’t let these become breeding grounds for bacteria. Always keep raw foods and cooked foods separate, and use separate utensils when preparing them.
- Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
- Keep hot food and liquids away from the edges of counters and tables, where they can be easily knocked over by a young child’s exploring hands. Be sure that young children cannot access microwave ovens. Turn pot handles toward the side or back of the stove.
- Foods that require refrigeration should never be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
- After a holiday party, clean up immediately. A toddler could rise early and choke on leftover food or come in contact with alcohol or tobacco.
(Information-American Academy of Pediatrics)
(Photo-Shellyn Leeper Photography)