By Jennifer Leal,
Cooking with kids both motivates and empowers your children to develop healthy eating habits. It also benefits the entire family as it provides quality time and is a valuable learning tool.
Even if you have the most challenging little eater, the family will benefit by showing your children that food preparation can be fun, yummy and can facilitate good communication. Below I share a few tips for cooking with your little monkeys, so get started and reap the rewards!
- Let Them Decide: Let the child choose some of the ingredients you will be using, such as which fruit to add to the muffin mix or which noodle shape to use.
- Personal Tools: You can take your kids with you to pick out their own apron and kitchen tools. I have found great deals on sale items at Williams-Sonoma and TJ Maxx. Plus, they do not need to be kid-sized items per se. Let them choose a measuring spoon set, measuring cups, wooden spoon, apron or large t-shirt, small knife (only if appropriate for your child), rubber spatula and small cutting board.
- Find Space: Find and clear out space in a drawer for the kids to keep their own kitchen tools.
- Broaden Your Horizons: Don’t just stick to the traditional American foods. Explore dishes from different regions of the world. Both you and your family will learn and discover new foods that may become favorites.
- Keep It Simple: Keep the recipes simple at first. Recipes such as fruit salad, smoothies, dips and sandwiches are a good place to start. Also, allow even the youngest chef to pour and mix the ingredients in a bowl.
- Pour On The Praise: Regardless of the outcome and the mess, be sure to take it in stride and use the opportunity to teach them that clean up is one aspect of cooking.
- Explore the Farmers Market: Being around local farmers and produce will get them excited about bringing the items home and cooking with them.