Tips For Building Muscle on a Keto Diet

There are two main reasons why we opt for a ketogenic or keto diet. One is to lose weight, and two, for general fitness. However, I am guessing you did not know that one can still build muscle while on keto, although the diet restricts the intake of carbs that contribute to muscle growth. I’ll show you how this works.

 

How does Keto Work?

Keto is a high fat, low carb diet. The diet works by reducing your carbs intake, which drives the body to use fats as its primary energy fuel. This is called the ketosis metabolic state. To create a ketone body, I have to reduce my carbs intake to anything lower than 50 grams daily. Since the body still needs energy, it shifts to getting it from fats or a relatively higher protein diet.

 

Keto takes at least two days for the body to adjust, but it can take some people as long as a week. While weight loss is usually our target when participating in such a diet, it is possible to still build muscle. Our bodies may have to initially drop some weight as it adjusts. However, with time muscle building starts to build up.

 

Keto Diet Plus Muscle Building

If we are going to focus on muscle rather than weight loss with keto, we have to consider a few things.

 

What’s our calorie intake?

To build more muscle while avoiding weight loss, I need to take in more calories than I burn. If, say, 15% of my calories get burned with every workout, it means I should be adding the same percentage to my meals. This also means that I keep proper records of our body’s daily calorie needs.

 

While at it, I should not add anything more than 0.5% of our weekly weight to keep me within the same minimum weight limit. The secret here is to strike a balance between too many calories that cause weight gain or fat accumulation and too few calories, which leads to substantial weight loss.

 

Maximizing on a Protein Diet

If I want to have healthier and well-built muscles, I should be thinking about the types of food that will contribute to my desired results. What better food choice if not proteins?

 

Proteins are traditionally known as bodybuilding foods, and this is why we need more of them when focusing on good muscle growth. Adding at least 0.7 to 0.9 grams of proteins daily for every body pound is the perfect score for muscle building. But what about gluconeogenesis?

 

When the body turns proteins into amino acids that lead to high sugar production, a process called gluconeogenesis is created. This can prevent the body from developing ketones. While this is a valid concern, restricting our protein intake to a gram per body pound will keep our bodies in their ketosis states.

 

Increasing Fat intake

Besides paying attention to protein intake, we also need to monitor our fat levels for this diet to work while building our muscles. Fats account for about 9 grams of calories after accounting for proteins and carbs. This means we can get our daily fat requirement by dividing our calorie count by nine after subtracting carbs and protein needs.

 

Whatever math anyone chooses to account for calories needed daily, it should always round back to fats that amount to at least 70% of the diet.

 

What of Carbs?

Now that we are reducing our carbs count, it does not mean we neglect our carb intake entirely. The body still needs a limited amount of the same. However, ketosis demands that we do not go past 50 grams of carbs daily. Better so, we can consume the needed carbs count around our workout time, creating a targeted keto diet.

 

Other Considerations

While what I eat highly contributes to the results I seek, I also need to pay attention to other underlying factors such as the exercise level I participate in. One of the best ways to build and strengthen muscles is through resistance training, which includes: pushups, squats, pullups, and bench presses. Doing a full muscle workout and resistance training twice a week will work the magic.

 

Supplements might help, but they should not be our primary source of needed nutrients. We should also watch out for hidden carbs in the foods we eat and track our daily progress. With all these tips, building muscles while doing keto is achievable.

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Ways on How Our Diet Affects Skin

Maintaining glowing and spotless skin takes more than proper hydration and regular visit to dermatologists. While some skin conditions like acne may occur due to health complications, most skin disorders can be prevented through diet change. What we take affects how our skin looks. Embarking on a healthy diet will nourish our skin, prevent common skin cancers, and make it look clear.

This article details different roles that proper diet plays on our skins and the best foods for skin nourishment.

Breakouts and Pimples

Adolescents and a few adults are affected by acne and pimples as a result of hormonal changes, and many of these people have decided that shopping for lotion that can help with acne and pimples is in their best interest. With that being said, different foods such as French fries, chocolate, and pizza are believed to be major contributors to pimples. Diets with a large percentage of carbohydrates promote chronic and mild inflammations in our bodies. Therefore, it’s vital to minimize the intake of foods that fall in this category.

Wrinkles, Sun Damage, and Fine Lines

The elastin, proteins, and collagen available on our skin surface determine its elasticity and texture. Any damage occurring to the skin proteins causes the development of wrinkles and fine lines that make us look older even at our young age. Exposing our skins to ultraviolet rays from the sun promotes the formation of reactive molecules known as free radicals. These elements significantly damage the skin elastin and collagen.

How do we prevent these radicals from damaging our skin, yet we spend some hours under direct exposure to the sun? Antioxidant compounds present in fruits and fresh vegetables are useful in safeguarding the skin against UV rays. Low antioxidant levels lead to rough-textured skin, whereas plenty of antioxidants leads to smoother skins. For those struggling with fine lines, squalane oil from Indie Lee (learn here) could be useful in easing these lines. Perhaps it’s worth doing some research into that product to see if it could help you.

Moisturized Skin

Skin loses moisture in different ways, and it needs regular replenishing. Average water intake in a day will enhance our skin texture, keeping it smooth. Moreover, moisturized skin makes us look younger than people of our age look. Take at least three glasses of water each day.

Foods That Promotes Healthy Skins

Here is a breakdown of common food substances that can help us develop healthier skin.

Fatty Fish

Fish contains high protein levels essential for building elastin and collagens. It also has high deposits of Omega 3, crucial fatty acids that reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin. Although all fish types have high omega 3, eating trout and salmon will help us get the fatty acids in abundance. Including fish in our meals at least twice a week will enrich our skins with these essential fatty acids.

The Right Carbohydrate Sources

Carbohydrates are present in various food substances available in our homes. However, not all carbohydrates are good for our skin. Sugar and white carbohydrates should be minimized if we want to maintain glowing skin. We can revert to using carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index.

Vegetables and Colorful Fruits

Carotenoids, essential compounds, are largely found in fruits that are deeply colored. Such fruits have high contents of vitamin A, vital for skin cell reproduction. Considering that our bodies shed between 30,000 and 40,000 daily, vitamin A and C intake is a must. Vitamin C manufactures collagen and can be found in fruits. Both vitamin C and carotenoids form antioxidants useful for fighting free radicals that cause skin damage.

Walnuts and Sunflower Seeds

Individuals who are naturally vegetarians can still get fatty acids from walnuts or sunflower seeds. They provide omega-3 fatty acids that are unsaturated. However, omega-6 fatty acids in these nuts need the user to minimize the intake since excessive consumption of the nuts can enhance inflammation in skins that have certain conditions. Vitamin and zinc available in sunflower seeds are also useful in the protection of the skin cells.

Green Tea

Taken as an energizing drink, green tea produces different compounds that enhance skin health. It produces an antioxidant called catechins, important in bolstering blood flow in our skins. With increased blood flow, our skin cells receive nutrients and fresh oxygen in abundance. Regular intake of tea contributes to the following:

  • Less scaling
  • Great elasticity
  • Reduced roughness
  • Sufficient healthful water in our skin
  • Better skin density

Our skin appearance can boost or degrade our morale. With an affected skin, we lack confidence and feel unappreciated by our peers. We don’t need to visit a dermatologist to maintain shiny and soft skins. We can eat the stated food products, drink enough water, and avoid basking for long periods to have young and glowing skin.

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Four Great Pasta Recipes

Some say Italians eat pasta every single day. Is that true or just a false myth? I’ve been living in Italy for many years now, and I can confirm that, basically, it is true: pasta is an essential partner of the Mediterranean diet. And, yes, it is bought and consumed in large quantities. There are at least three reasons behind this: pasta is delicious, easy to cook, and healthy.

 

Today, I’d like to share with you my favorite (and easiest) Italian pasta recipes. I’ll include the basic ingredients and preparation method. As for quantities, take into account that 500 grams of pasta serve about 5 people (4 if an “encore is wanted,” which is very likely!).

 

Amatriciana

One of my favorites, indeed. It’s a recipe that comes from the center of Italy. Tradition says that it was first served in a town called Amatrice, therefore the name. When this town was struck by a terrible earthquake in summer 2016, the beautiful Medieval city center was completely destroyed, and the surrounding areas were devastated. In an attempt to give some relief to the population, restaurants around the world launched a fundraising campaign. If a portion of Amatriciana pasta was ordered, a part of the profit was shared with the charity associations of the Amatrice region.

 

Ingredients: Bucatini (long and thick spaghetti-like pasta that has a hole in the middle), tomato sauce, bacon, olive oil and finely chopped onions, carrots, and celery.

 

Preparation: Fry the finely chopped onions, celery, and onions in olive oil. Then add finely chopped bacon (or pork cheek, if you manage to find it) and the tomato sauce. Add some salt and a pinch of sugar to get rid of the natural sourness of the tomatoes.

 

Cook your pasta al dente, pour it in a large pan, and then add the sauce. Put it back on the stove and stir it until the sauce is well blended with the bucatini. Serve hot.

 

Fried Spaghetti

Did your friends come over to your place after the movies, and you don’t have anything ready to feed them a quick meal? No need to call for a pizza or a Chinese takeaway. Here’s a recipe that’s quick and delicious. I’ve discovered this recipe in an old book of recipes written by stage actors. This one in particular was, apparently, prepared by one famous Italian comedian (Sandra Mondaini) for her friends and crew after the show.

 

Ingredients: Spaghetti, breadcrumbs, olive oil, and garlic.

 

Preparation: Fry some slices of garlic in hot olive oil. Then cook the pasta al dente, drain it well and then pour it into the pan with the oil and the garlic. Turn the stove back on and stir gently while adding generous pinches of breadcrumbs to the spaghetti. The aim is to create some sort of “golden crust” on the spaghetti. Once the pasta starts to thicken, turn the stove off and serve straight away – better with a glass of sparkling wine, to add a touch of party-like atmosphere.

 

Butter Pasta

This recipe is one of my kids favorite. Plus, it is extremely fast and easy to prepare. I always cook butter pasta when I didn’t have time to prepare anything else, and it’s still a success!

 

Ingredients: Short pasta (penne or rigatoni), butter, nutmeg, Parmesan cheese.

 

Preparation: Cook the pasta al dente and then drain it, saving some of the cooking water in a cup. Add about 50 grams of butter for each 400 grams of pasta and stir vigorously until the butter is completely melted. Add 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, pour some of the cooking water directly on the cheese, and keep stirring. Serve hot, adding more grated Parmesan cheese on top and a pinch of ground nutmeg for added flavor and spice.

 

Risotto-Style Pasta with Chicken Broth

I’ve learned this recipe from a friend of mine, and it’s soon become one of my family’s favorites. It’s perfect for warming you up during cold winter days, and it’s so delicious. Plus, it is an unusual way to cook the pasta, with the same technique used for the risotto recipes.

 

Ingredients: Pasta (large penne rigate are best for this recipe), chicken broth, butter, and Parmesan cheese.

 

Preparation: In a large pan, pour some olive oil and the raw pasta straight from the bag. Add the chicken broth until the pasta is completely covered. Turn on the stove and stir occasionally. Wait until the pasta is cooked and the broth has thickened into a sauce-like texture. Add some butter and keep on stirring for a couple of minutes. Serve hot, adding grated Parmesan cheese on top.

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The Hardest Recipes to Try Out

When most people read my cookery pieces, they think I’m perfect at it. Some of the readers I have interacted with think I could go toe to toe with the world’s best chefs. But I’m just a normal person who loves cooking and trying out new recipes. I have previously tried out some recipes, and I ended up either failing spectacularly or hating them completely. I have vowed never to try any of these recipes ever again, but some I will definitely try until I’m completely perfect. The following are some of the main recipes that I have tried, and I got miserably frustrated. Some of these I have also heard other reviewers complaining about.

 

Croissants

They might seem simple to make like any other pastry-like biscuits or bread made with dough, but they are not. Croissants are made with laminated dough, which basically involves kneading yeasted dough. After kneading the dough, I left the dough to rest and rise for an hour as per the instructions. After an hour, I rolled it out and rolled it over some butter that I had previously beaten and chilled. I ensured to chill and roll over and over about three times as instructed on the recipe until the dough was ready.

 

After the dough was ready, I cut and shaped it in a crescent shape, mostly the shape of croissants. This whole process really tested my patience, and it consumed a lot of my time during the whole preparation. After I baked it in the oven, the results were really disappointing. At first glance, the crescent shape I had carefully tried to form did not even hold up, everything got smudged, and the croissant looked like a big bug. However, the taste was somewhere near a croissant but not completely. I will definitely try the recipe again because it was not a total loss; I only need to hack the shape.

 

A Whole Roasted Duck

The recipe for this was so easy, but the results were annoyingly terrible. I know it would take longer even before I started, but I was determined anyway. I started by marinating the bird fully and leaving it to marinate in the refrigerator. That was the easy part. The cooking part was not a hot mess. After placing it in the oven, the duck was to roast slowly for several hours, and I’m used to it.

 

However, the issue came in when I was supposed to continuously monitor the duck and remove excess fat from the bottom pan, which would often accumulate. I also had to turn the duck to ensure it cooks evenly and continuously. After all this process, I was still supposed to carve the duck and serve it only to find out the meat turned out to be overly tough and stringy. I later learned it was from overcooking. This is one of the recipes that really disappointed me, and I vowed not to try it ever again.

 

Jam

Preserving fruits in the form of jam is a great idea, right? I washed my fruits, diced them, and crushed some of them as instructed on the recipes I found online. I later put the fruits in a cooking pan and simmered them after adding sugar for a few minutes. I continuously added pectin until they formed a thick nice jell as the recipe instructed. I had previously prepared the storage containers and thoroughly sterilized them according to the instructions on the recipe.

 

After the jell cooled and I was ready to can the jam, I was so disappointed. The jelly had become a slimy runny mess, and I had to pour everything out. I don’t know what happened or where I went wrong, but I don’t think I will waste more of my fruits trying to make jam again.

 

The many recipes I have given a try have taught me a lot, and I would also like to hear from you. You can try to hack the above recipes that I have tried and failed, then let me know your experiences and the lessons you will draw from trying them out. You can also share ideas and the secrets you used that helped you succeed in the attempts we made on the recipes. Give us the substitute you used, and if you have tried the recipes previously, please share your experiences.

 

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Surprising Benefits of Eating Gluten-Free Food

We don’t have to wait until we get a diagnosis of gluten sensitivity or celiac condition to enjoy gluten-free food benefits. Most neuropathic doctors advise us to reduce our allergies intensely by considering gluten-free diets. Therefore, we can experiment with these diets and enjoy their surmountable benefits. People might think that avoiding gluten is an excuse for consuming more meat, but it improves our health.

 

Here are a handful of things worth understanding about the benefits of taking gluten-free diets.

 

Defining Gluten

Most people eat food but do not know the content of these diets. When it comes to gluten meals, we find that gluten is a protein available in grains. We can find this protein in the rye, wheat, barley, and other grains. Therefore, people can find these products in cereals, grains, and even slices of bread. Gluten (grain protein) plays a significant role in maintaining grain food elasticity during the fermentation process. Besides, this product enables flour to stick together when chewing.

 

Here are a handful of benefits people get from eating gluten-free food.

 

Improving Cholesterol Level

Most of us eat foods that have a lot of cholesterol and, in turn, deteriorate our health. We end up looking for ways to reduce these lipids in our bodies. If we avoid foods that contain a lot of cholesterol, we will improve our overall health.

 

One of the things we can do to stay healthy is by eating gluten-free diets. These kinds of food do not contain cholesterol and can work well for our bodies. Therefore, we should not eat these kinds of diets because they have gluten sensitivity. Instead, we should normalize eating gluten-free meals to improve our health.

 

Promoting Digestive Health

If we consider eating gluten-free meals, we will improve our digestive health. How can we enhance digestion? These kinds of food play a critical role in our bodies when it comes to food digestion. Since they lack grain proteins, they will prove more comfortable to digest. They will reduce the stickiness that makes food digestion more challenging. They also eliminate hard substances on grains that might prove challenging during the digestion process. Therefore, people should consider meals that do not contain grain proteins to enhance their digestion health.

 

Increasing Energy Levels

At times we need to boost our energy and health. But the kind of energy we gain depends on the type of food we eat. It will be best if we can consider energy foods to suit our diets. Given that many foods offer energy to our bodies, we can’t forget about gluten-free diets. They offer massive energy to our bodies. We may consider buying gluten-free pizzas and other food that will enhance our body energy. Buy food with no grain proteins to bolster the energy levels in the body.

 

Consumption of Fruits and Veggies

Some of us understand the need to include vegetables and fruits in our daily menu. Moreover, we all know that these diets do not contain gluten. Besides, we can improve our immune system by indulging in fruits and different types of vegetables. If I am looking for gluten-free food, I will start by including both veggies and fresh fruits in my servings. Considering that they have no grain proteins, they might help us to avoid cholesterol. They may also help us reduce the risks of heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, and certain cancers. Moreover, we can naturally shed weight better than walking into the gym.

 

My Experience With Gluten-Free Foods

Recently, I intentionally started my food journey as a way of consuming gluten-free food. As such, I can opt to eat or avoid gluten filled food. But to experiment on how gluten-free diets work, I chose not to eat diets with gluten. People will find me taking spices and sauces that are gluten-free. They will also find fruits, salads and veggies on my food table.

 

I also love taking rice-based pasta, among other foods without grain proteins. Although it is too early to tell, I have seen improvement in allergies that have significant harm to my health. What about us? We can also consider gluten-free diets and delight in the surpassing health benefits arising from the consumption of these foods.

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Cooking for Hard to Please People

I have found that cooking for most of those that I serve to be an easy task. Generally, most people are easy to please, but on some occasions, I do find it a challenge to cook for some people. Cooking can be a great joy and with more people learning how to cook from places like Cocusocial in order to create a healthy and tasty cuisine, it is a good idea to adapt our skills to match the tastebuds of those we are cooking for.

 

Cooking for Those Who Travel

Having a husband that is a truck driver can be a challenge to prepare meals for my spouse when on the road. He can be gone for several days at a time. For the first day, at least I like to send him off with some healthy meals. The rest of the time, my husband has to rely on truck stops for nutrition. These are not quite the same as the home-cooked meals that he enjoys.

 

What I normally try to do is cook a meal on Sundays when my spouse is home where the leftovers can make a meal for him the next day when working. What I have found that works well is a meal made with meat that will make a great sandwich. For example, I may make a roast of beef, meatloaf, or honey ham. This way, not only does he get a good home-cooked meal on Sunday, but he can enjoy the leftovers when away from home the next day. Added to this will also be the leftovers of a hearty salad that we start that Sunday meal with. These are all items that he doesn’t have to worry about heating up. While, at the same time, getting the nutrition that is needed at least to start the week with.

 

Cooking for Seniors

While my parents are still able to live their own lifestyles, they like to come over once a week for dinner. This means that I need to put some extra thought into the meal that I will serve. Like most seniors, they prefer to eat lighter meals with fewer portions. My parents also tend to avoid spicy foods.

 

Therefore I will focus on cooking a meal comprised of lean meat such as chicken or fish. I usually will add an extra vegetable to the meal as these are less filling but gives the additional vitamins that are required. As seniors, when cooking for themselves, they tend not to prepare large meals, which means that often the diet is lacking in a selection of healthy veggies. Another dish that I will often prepare is a hearty soup comprised of chicken or beef. This way, my parents can eat a small quality but still get all the nutrition that they should have.

 

Cooking For Those With Health Issues

On occasion, I will have friends or family members over for dinner that I know have some health issues. These are individuals who may be dealing with lactose intolerance, diabetes, or high blood pressure. To make sure that I am not serving a meal that could negatively affect their health, I rely on recipes that will address their needs.

 

For example, for those who have high blood pressure, I do not add any salt to the meals that I am preparing. Instead, I will rely on other spices to spruce up the taste of the food. I will choose herbs and spices like paprika or some of the salt substitutes. I also try to focus on foods that have a lot of their own natural flavors. For those who may be lactose-free, I try to avoid any dishes that may require dairy products. If I am making something like mashed potatoes, then I will use lactose-free milk to whip them. There doesn’t appear to be any change to the taste, so others eating them don’t notice any difference. This way, everyone is satisfied with the meal that is prepared.

 

The Fussy Eater

Then there are times where I am cooking for someone that is known to be a fussy eater. This is the individual who doesn’t like a big variety in what is eaten. Nor do they usually like ethnic foods or a large variety of veggies. For these guests, I try to keep the meal simple. I usually know ahead of time what these fussy eaters like and dislike and will plan a basic traditional meal to serve to them.

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Two Best Recipes to Prepare With Kids at Home

In the wake of the pandemic, and everyone stuck at home with very little to do, there are fun ways to bond as a family. Besides reading, playing, and watching their favorite cartoon, I discovered that getting the little ones in the kitchen and turning them into little chefs is a perfect way to bond with them. Not only does the idea bring out a kid’s creativity, but the experience is also enjoyable.

Below are two quick and easy recipes that families can try out.

Crumpet Pizza

Show of hands, who loves crumpet pizza? It’s true most kids love pizza and wouldn’t delay in learning to make them? Here are important ingredients to use:

  • Six crumpets
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp pass at a
  • ½ oregano, dried

For the topping, use olives, peppers, cherry tomatoes, basil, sweet corn, or ham.

Procedure:

Begin the process by maximally heating the grill, then have the crumpets toasted. (I usually use a toaster for this). Next, mix the available ingredients, minus the topping. Finally, ask the kids to help with chopping our preferred toppings. (Working basil, ham, and vegetables is much easier for younger chefs).

Step 2

With the help of a foil, line up the baking tray and spread sauce on the crumpets. Place them on the tray and grill for about 5 minutes until the cheese turns golden and starts bubbling. Remove it from the fire and let it cool before serving.

Tip: Preparing crumpet pizza should take no more than 20 minutes and another 10 minutes of cooking. This recipe is ideal for vegetarians and is best served as a snack or lunch. Can serve up to 6 people.

Spaghetti and Meatballs With Vegetable Source

Another easy recipe that families can try out with the kids, which turns out to be so much fun, is spaghetti with meatballs. I initially wanted to make it into a quick snack, but it turned out so yummy, and we ended up having it for lunch as a family. Preparing this recipe takes less than an hour.

Ingredients for the meatballs

  • 300g pork sausages. (Beef is still okay in case someone is allergic to pork).
  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 course grated onions
  • 1 finely grated carrot
  • 1 tbsp oregano, dried
  • 50g well-grated Parmesan (add extra for serving)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Tomato sauce ingredients

  • 3 finely grated garlic cloves
  • One coarsely grated courgette
  • Tomato puree
  • Red wine vinegar
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Cooked spaghetti

Step 1:

Note: Allow the kids to handle this step.

With parent’s supervision and guidance, let the young ones peel the skins off the sausage and transfer them into a large bowl. Once this is done, add the beef. Next, add all the ingredients for the meatballs minus the olive oil. Finally, add the black pepper and mix it thoroughly using the hands.

Cooking with kids calls for extra caution. Don’t allow young kids to taste the raw mix.

Step #2

Indulge children in rolling out the meatball mix into small balls and place them on another bowl or plate. This is a role that families can happily play, considering it makes kids more creative. Besides, it’s an easy way of teaching children the basics of math.

Step #3

As the kids are busy rolling the meatballs, prepare the sauce. Heat oil in a large pan and add both garlic and courgette. Allow it to cook for 5 minutes until it becomes soft. Add sugar, vinegar, and tomato puree, then stir it. Allow it to cook for another minute, add tomatoes, and leave it to simmer for another 5 minutes.

Step #4

In a large frying pan, heat cooking oil, then fry the meatballs until they turn golden brown on both sides and add them to the source. Give it about 15 minutes to allow simmering. Also, gently stir it from time to time until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked. Families can serve these yummy meatballs with cooked spaghetti and top it off with some basil and the extra grated Parmesan.

This recipe serves up to 6 people, including four kids and two adults. It is, therefore, more ideal for the whole family.

Cooking Tips: Always observe hygiene and safety precautions when cooking with kids. Long hair should be tied at the back, and everyone must put on an apron. Younger children should help from a safe distance away from the fire. Explaining every ingredient used in the recipes, their names and origin will make the cooking process more fun and informative.

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