Often we hear parents complain about their kids being picky eaters or having a hard time getting their children to eat certain foods. One way to get your kids to become better eaters is getting them involved in the kitchen. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Getting kids in the kitchen, exploring different foods and preparing meals is setting them up for the future. Kids need to be introduced to cooking in a fun way. Here are some tips to get your kids involved in the kitchen.
- Start a garden- planting, nurturing and watching produce grow is a fun way to learn about how food is grown and to take pride in something they have done. By being a part of the process they may be more open to trying their own vegetables.
- Start them young in the kitchen. Give little ones pots and pans, wooden spoons and measuring cups to play with.
- Take them grocery shopping. When you are at the store let them explore and pick their own fruit, vegetables and grains. Encourage them pick a new vegetable for dinner.
- Allow them to engage in age appropriate tasks. Measure ingredients, mixing and cutting if they are capable.
- Look through cookbooks, magazines and websites. Encourage them to pick a recipe they would like to try.
- Visit a local farmers market and get to know the farmers. Let them ask questions and pick their own produce.
- Taste everything together. If they see you eating something they are more likely to try it.
- Educate! Use this time to educate and learn. Talk about colour, texture, nutritional values and ingredients. Encourage them to ask questions and take initiative
Tips for Parents
- Be patient- Yes it is much easier for us to do it ourselves, but they will never learn if you do it for them. The more you cook with your kids the faster they will get.
- Make the time- It is easy to make the excuse of not having enough time. Cooking with kids doesn’t mean that we have to cook every night together. Weekends when you have a bit more time or on specific day on of a week is the best way to start.
- Look for simple recipes- Use a well written, easy to follow recipe book to get started.
- Use proper equipment- Don’t go out and buy special equipment, however you will need some staple items such as a good solid cutting board and sharp knife (dull knives are dangerous)
- Keep Work Station Clean- Encourage your child to clean their work station as they go by putting their food scraps in a bowl and wiping down their area frequently.