Encourage Healthy Eating By Cooking With Your Kids

You can make a healthy lifestyle look fun when you let your kids cook with you. After all, young ones learn by example, so if you enjoy crafting nutritious meals, your children will, too.

Incorporating nutritious ingredients into every meal isn’t hard once you figure out the items that your kids love to eat. Whether it’s a wide variety or a few choice foods, there are plenty of recipes that will let you take advantage of all the great nutrients that healthy foods have to offer.

Decide what’s safe
The primary concern of parents cooking with their kids is safety. Between the hot stove and the sharp knives, there are a number of risks that mothers and fathers have to pay attention to. Before inviting your young ones to the kitchen, assess the meal preparation procedures and make sure there are steps that your kids can participate in safely.

Plan ahead
PBS suggested working with the little ones even before the ingredients are purchased. Allowing the kids to pick out specific food items or choose what they want to do is an exciting offer that your children will love. Chances are, you and your spouse are the ones who plan the meals, so giving this very adult responsibility to the kids is a huge deal for young ones. Additionally, kids will learn the importance of planning and following through.

Make cooking fun
Though there will be many appliances that the little ones can’t use, it doesn’t mean that the tools they can use have to be boring. The process of using a salad spinner may have become boring for you, but it’s a blast for young children.

Incorporate new foods
If there are particularly nutritious foods that you’ve had your eyes on but have held back from because you were hesitant about your kids’ responses, now may be the perfect opportunity to introduce the items. For kids, there’s nothing more exciting than working with a new and unfamiliar item. This way, you bypass the unknowns of presenting plates with foreign foods on them.

Allowing your children to exercise their creativity with fun shapes and layouts will let them warm up to the foods. Once they’ve crafted their culinary work of art, they’ll have a sense of ownership that wouldn’t be available if you’d created the meal on your own.

Teach portion control
Kids learn from doing, and letting them distribute the amount of food on each plate will give them a better sense of what a healthy portion is. Additionally, you can show them that certain parts of the meal should be more plentiful than others. Teach them that two scoops of vegetables is perfectly OK, but that two portions of meatloaf isn’t as preferable or healthy.

Clean up
Many may dread the clean-up work after meal preparation, but lots of kids love wiping down surfaces and gathering up crumbs. You might just find yourself enjoying cleaning duties more when your kids are there having fun. The young ones may want to clean as they’re cooking, but you’ll want to let them know that those procedures are the last part of preparing food. Though they may multitask in the kitchen as they grow older, teach them to focus on cooking when they’re young, since there are many hazardous appliances and tools around.

If there are leftovers, let the little ones pack their own lunch bags. They’ll be proud to show off their work at school the next day, and you’ll rest easy knowing that they’ll love their lunches.

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