Let’s get cookin’!
Having your kids help out with meal preparation benefits both you and your children.
It gives you an opportunity to teach your kids about the advantages of healthy eating, while spending some quality time with them (and putting them to work!).
By preparing simple snacks and helping out with meal prep, your children gains exposure to healthy food at a young age, something invaluable they will take into their adult lives.
Before you start cooking with your kids, it’s important to go over some ground rules:
- Give your children a “safety tour” of the kitchen, highlighting what tools and dishes they can use.
- Keep appliances and knives out of reach (unless you have a knife set made specifically for children, like this one).
- Give your children some special tools for cooking with; for example: plastic measuring spoons and bowls, easily accessible ingredients, and a rolling pin.
- Teach your children to never sample the food—especially when it’s hot!
- Teach your children about proper hand-washing techniques.
Make Cooking with Your Kids Fun
Get your little ones involved in the meal planning process by having them select ingredients and even meals. Take them to the grocery store and show them what ingredients can go in each meal, for example, a healthy pizza. Have them pick colorful vegetables for the toppings.
If they turn their nose up at the idea of vegetables, show them how to cut them into fun shapes!
Before you start cooking, remind your kids about hand washing and get them outfitted in aprons (if you can get matching aprons like these, that’s even better!).
Even your youngest child can help with:
- Washing the vegetables
- Spreading the pizza sauce
- Putting pizza toppings on
- Setting the timer on the oven (with help)
- Cleaning up
As your children get older, give them more responsibility by allowing them to measure, mix, and eventually help plan meals. School-aged kids will feel confident as they prepare their own healthy snacks such as sliced cheese and apples, almond butter on celery, and yogurt with fruit.
Some other ways I like to get my kids excited about their food is letting them juice their fruits, make their own smoothies, have fun with fondue or use chopsticks.
Sometimes it’s good to play with your food!
And if you’re still having problems getting your children to eat their vegetables, check out my cookbook How to Get Your Kids to Beg for Veggies.
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