Benefits of Cooking With Kids

"Picky Eaters"
Can We Really Get Our Families to Eat Healthy?

Confession time!  I found it very challenging to avoid the urge to just “do it myself” when it came to involving my kids in the cooking, especially in the early years.  Sigh…. But, I can happily report, at 10 and 8, both my son and daughter now LOVE to cook and are involved in most meal preparation.

My son’s favorite contribution is to be in charge of making our homemade Caesar salad dressing.  The result of being entrusted with that special job?  He ASKS for salad now!!! Oh words cannot begin to describe the complete turn around that is from a child who would NOT eat much of anything his first, um, 9 years of life.  But that’s a story for another post….

Our daughter started out making biscuits with daddy and now is proficient at just about anything other than handling the oven and the sharp knives. Her Momma isn’t quite ready for her to tackle those.  She’s the first one to pop into the kitchen and ask how she can help.

Involving kids in the kitchen sounds good in theory, but wondering where to begin?

  • Start small.  Use a recipe that only has a few ingredients.  Better yet, teach them how to make things that you eat regularly that don’t require a recipe.  Cinnamon toast.  Tearing the greens for the salad.  Layering fruit and yogurt in glasses for a fun, “fancy” dessert.
  • Notice their strengths and/or interests and find jobs that appeal to those.  For instance, our daughter loves all things artistic so making sure our plates have lots of “colors” (read fruits and veggies) comes easily to her.
  • Involve them early.  Even little ones can help set the table and pick out which vegetable to have with dinner.
The benefits of involving your kids in the kitchen are so numerous: healthier eating habits, joy and confidence that comes from being able to make something for the family “all by myself!”, fine and gross motor skills, creativity development, math skills, increased vocabulary, awareness of where food comes from, social skills, and just being together with mom or dad.  They will cherish those times….
Give your kids an extra hug and find them a special “job” in the kitchen today.  You won’t regret it.
Treasuring these years,
Shani
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"Picky Eaters"
Can We Really Get Our Families to Eat Healthy?

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