Print    Email
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)
  
Learn
Bookmark and Share

Lee este articuloReading a recipe isn't like reading a book. It's a set of instructions for preparing a food or drink. Once you know how to follow a recipe, you can get cooking!

Recipe Name

The recipe name tells you what you'll be making. Some recipes also give a few words of description about the food or drink. For example, it might say, "Tropical Fruit Smoothie — a healthy and refreshing summer drink."

Some recipes also include a picture or drawing to show you what the food or drink will look like when it's done.

Servings

The number of servings is important because you probably want to know how much the recipe will make. For instance, will you have enough muffins for the whole class?

Most kids' recipes make just a few servings because it's easier for kids to work with smaller amounts of food. But it's easy to make more (a double or triple batch) or to make less (cut the recipe in half). Ask an adult to help you figure out how much of each ingredient you'll need.

Nutritional Analysis

Some people look at the nutritional analysis (say: noo-TRISH-uh-nul uh-NAL-uh-sis) of a recipe before deciding to make it. This tells you how many calories one serving of the recipe contains. It also might list:

This information can be especially important for kids and adults who must follow special diets to stay healthy.

Time

Time tells you about how long it will take to prepare the recipe. This is good to know because then you'll know how much time you'll need. And, if you're making dinner, you'll know how early you'll have to start making it.

Most recipes for kids don't take a lot of time to prepare. Some recipes will have the time divided into two parts: prep time and cooking time. Prep (short for "preparation") time is when you'll be busy in the kitchen. You'll be mixing, mashing, stirring, and doing whatever else the recipe's instructions say to do.

Cooking time is when the food is actually in the oven or on the stove top. (Remember that when a recipe uses the oven or stove top, you'll need your adult assistant.) With some recipes, you don't need to do anything during the cooking time. You can hang out nearby, do homework, or set the table. But with other recipes, you might need to stir or check on something every so often.

Ingredients

This is a list of all the items you'll need to make the recipe. Most ingredient lists in kids' recipes are easy to follow. Some even have drawings, so there might be a picture showing exactly how many cups of flour or eggs you will need.

Sometimes a recipe will also include special ingredient information like:

  • optional ingredients, which aren't critical for the recipe, but can be used for added flavor or to make the recipe a little bit different
  • ingredients without a specific measurement. It might say, "Salt, to taste." This means you can add as much or little as you like to the recipe. A little usually goes a long way. And if it's not enough, you can always add more. You can't, however, take it back if you put in too much.

Some ingredient lists may tell you what you need to do before you even get to the directions. For example, "one cucumber, thinly sliced" or "one egg, beaten."

Finally, some recipes may suggest ways that you can change the recipe by using different ingredients. This can be helpful if you're out of a certain ingredient or you're allergic to an ingredient (a kid who is allergic to nuts can make cookies with raisins in them instead, for example).

Directions

The directions tell you the steps you need to take to make the recipe. Always read the directions first, from start to finish. Doing this will tell you:

  • if you need your adult assistant's help
  • if there's anything you don't understand

Preheating the oven is an important first step and you'll need an adult to help you. In many recipes, the directions are numbered or written on separate lines to make them easier to understand and follow. Some kids' recipes will have drawings here, too. For example, these drawings may show you how to roll out dough, grease a pan, or mix batter.

Serving Suggestions

Some recipes suggest ways of serving the dish you are making or other foods to serve alongside it. For example, a homemade salsa recipe might say, "Serve with whole-grain tortilla chips for dipping." A grilled chicken recipe might say, "Serve with brown rice and asparagus spears."

But you are the chef, so you can decide how you want to serve your creation. Good luck and bon appétit — that's French for "enjoy your food"!

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: September 2013

 
Other Related KidsHealth Articles:
About Recipes for Kids With Diabetes
These recipes are especially for kids with diabetes, but it can be a nutritious part of almost anyone's diet. Kids with diabetes may need to pay extra attention to the amount of carbohydrates they eat to maintain control of their blood sugar levels.
About Vegetarian Recipes
These recipes are for anyone following a vegetarian (meat-free) diet.
Award-Winning Cafeteria Recipes
Yes, you can eat award-winning food in your school cafeteria. All 10 of these recipes won a contest held by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Let's Move, the national effort to help kids get healthier.
Being Safe in the Kitchen
Cooking and baking are lots of fun - as long as you stay safe. Read this article for safety tips before you head into the kitchen.
Figuring Out Food Labels
The food label on a food package is a lot like the table of contents in a book - it tells you exactly what the food contains. Read our article for kids for more about food labels.
Garden-Fresh Lunches
Let's step into the garden for some ideas on what you can pack for lunch. PB&J is great, but not every day!
Leftovers for Lunch
Last night's dinner can become today's lunch. Find out how with these five recipes.
Ready, Set, Breakfast!
Did you eat breakfast today? Find out why it's important.
Take a Look at Cooking
Do you like to eat? If so, you might like to learn to cook. Find out how in this article for kids.
When Snack Attacks Strike
Snacks can keep kids going between meals. Find out more in this article, with links to easy recipes you can try.
 
Related Resources:
Allrecipes.com
This site offers more than 40,000 free recipes, plus lots of cooking tips and information.
Food Network
TV's Food Network goes online with searchable menus and recipes, an encyclopedia of cooking terms, and ideas from celebrity chefs.
National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics
Offering nutrition information, resources, and access to registered dietitians.
Plastic Fork Diaries
Plastic Fork Diaries is a site especially for kids that has stories about school, nutrition, and other kids.