More than 12.5 million children in the US are overweight. This number is not decreasing but increasing which puts children at risk for serious health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. Teaching your child healthy nutrition habits will increase their awareness and they will form better eating habits that will go with them throughout their lives.
Cooking with children encourages creativity, an understanding of bad eating habits, responsibility and involvement. It’s never too early to start teaching your children the differences between healthy and non healthy foods. By cooking with your kids you are reminding yourself and reinforcing the fact to your children that cooking and eating healthy food together is a lot of fun. Kids love to eat together as a family and help make the foods being served. Food not only nourishes our bodies but our souls.
When cooking with your kids you are familiarizing them with diverse foods, the importance of eating healthy and learning where foods come from. When spending time with your child in the kitchen are you helping develop a lifelong love for the culinary arts, build self-confidence, promote creativity and imagination.
5 Ways to Get Kids Involved in the Kitchen
PLANNING – When I meal plan I ask my family, kids and husband what meals they would like me to serve that week. My husband normally says “I don’t care” but the kids have major opinions. All I ask is that they make healthy choices. Both boys get to pick a meal for the week, which makes them more eager to eat healthy foods.
SHOPPING - Take the kiddos to the grocery store. I know it’s not the easiest or most fun task of the week but they can help shop for ingredients and have some power in choosing it makes a big difference at meal times.
HELP PREPARE - When getting ready to make a meal or bake have the kids help get all the ingredients together and help by cracking eggs and measuring ingredients.
FOLLOW DIRECTIONS - By cooking with kids you are teaching them important skills that they can take with them throughout their life such as, following directions. Every recipe has directions that need to be followed, if you want it to turn out well.
CLEAN UP - Once the meal is prepared and the family eats together it’s clean up time. As much as kids like to get their hands dirty, they also love to play with water. Have your child wash dishes, wipe down the counters and table so they are involved in the whole meal process…not just cooking.
Remember, even the littlest chefs can help in the kitchen. Easy tasks such as washing and peeling foods require no sharp utensils. Kids love to get their hands dirty, so have them knead dough, squeeze tomatoes for sauce or foam meatballs.
So, are you ready to get those kids cooking in the kitchen?