We all want our kids to eat healthy now and be prepared for a lifetime of good eating, right? It’s a nice idea but there are so many challenges to getting kids to eat the foods they should be.
There are variety of ways to get kids interested in healthy eating, one of which is getting them involved in the kitchen. When kids are in the kitchen, they see and connect with their food, which can help to encourage them into eating healthier. Here are some benefits to getting kids involved in the kitchen:
- Appreciation for tastes and flavors
- Understanding of foods and balanced diet
- Development of motor skills
- Development of math and reading skills
- Bonding time with family
- Building of independence and confidence
- Encouragement of creativity and exploration
Here are some steps that you can take to get your children involved when they are able and ready:
- At a very young age, bring children into the kitchen to watch you as you cook. Talk through what you’re doing and explain why you do it.
- Utilize foods as a teaching tool whenever possible. From colors to counting, foods can be incorporated into a variety of activities both in and out of the kitchen. The more you can use a variety of food, the more familiar and comfortable your child will be when exposed to them in their meals and snacks.
- When you’re both ready, involve your children in as many tasks as possible, from snapping the ends off asparagus to cracking eggs to places pieces of fruit in bowls. If you’re brave enough, you can even have them mix or stir.
- As your children’s age and abilities increase, you can safely add more and more tasks and responsibilities. Children can start doing things like making salads at a pretty young, especially when given safe tools, such as child-approved knifes.
- Encourage your children to prepare some of their own snacks and meals. With your supervision and permission, they can troubleshoot what to eat and how to prepare it. The first few times may lead to a big mess, but they will learn and improve quickly. (Which eventually leads to a break for you….win-win!)
Does it still feel kind of overwhelming? Don’t worry – you’re not alone! Check out these testimonials from some of the moms in our community.
Lyndsey, mom of 2, allows her children to help in the kitchen by letting them sit on the counter. They help by cracking eggs, stirring the “yummy things”, and their favorite is dancing in the kitchen while they cook. They are learning so much from just being in the kitchen, and since she homeschools, it fits into their daily life!
Bri, mom of a 5-year-old, encourages her daughter to help in the kitchen. She helps stir and measure things, make kombucha, cut fruit and veggies, wash dishes, pretty much anything she wants to and can do! They use this time to fit in some education such as math, reading and learning why eating healthy is so important!
Roxanne, mom of 6-year-old twins, incorporates both kids in the kitchen by selecting new recipes and veggies to try each week. They create their own smoothie recipes, find new recipes for no bake breakfast foods, and plan out healthy snacks together. As a result, they get creative in the kitchen, and the kids are more adventurous with trying new flavors and foods.
Danielle, mom of 3, has little humans that sometimes like to help a bit too much in the kitchen, independent of mom’s help or supervision! This is the long-term goal, independent, healthy ability to cook for self, but results in some catastrophic happenings at times! She strives to engage her kids in meal planning by offering options while making the weekly meal schedule. They get to help gather the groceries and organize them throughout the kitchen. When it is time to cook, there are different stations that help evade “disagreements” about who is doing what. Sometimes it manifests as alternating turns measuring, dumping, selecting, stirring, serving, scooping and whatever other tasks that the kitchen might have to offer.
Crystal, mom of a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old, expects her kids to make their own breakfasts, lunches, and snacks (with approval from mom) when they are home. They have even had the opportunity to cook dinner by themselves while mom gave instructions from the next room. They are always so proud of what they accomplish in the kitchen!
Whatever your children’s ages and your level of readiness, there are a wide variety of ways to get the whole family into the kitchen. Small steps can make a big difference, and patience is a key ingredient to success.
And if you could use support and encouragement from other moms just like you, join our free community, the Moms Wellness Connection at www.momswellnessconnection.com.
MEET THE AUTHOR
You Are Well Kids Recipe Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/youarewell/healthy-kid-approved-meals/
Kids Cook Real Food: https://kidscookrealfood.com/
Reddish Kids: https://www.raddishkids.com