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After years of being a parent and during that time having been active in groups that encourage a healthy lifestyle. So many times a parent just isn’t sure HOW to get their child to eat all the ‘good for them’ foods.
Once a child is old enough to be helping, you unlock an avenue that will make it easier for them to embrace the healthy eating lifestyle.
The Four Easy Ways to Engage Your Child in Healthy Cooking
(1) Let your child pick the recipe.
If you want the child to be excited about helping make something and want to eat it, you’ll want to have their buy in for the task from the beginning. Lemony Brussel Sprouts might be a healthy dish, but if your child hates brussel sprouts they won’t want to help make it. My boys have all loved simple things like fruit salad or a tossed salad when first getting into ‘cooking.’
(2) Find age appropriate tasks for them to do.
Even toddlers can help with some tasks in the kitchen, like stirring ingredients at room temperature or dumping ingredients into the pot. But, hold off on letting them dice those vegetables until they are school-aged. One of D’s favorite things to do now is chop up vegetables that are being used to make dinner. But, a year ago I wouldn’t have given him the sharp knife to do it.
(3) Show how to do something and then let them do it.
For those of us who must have our way, letting go of control is hard. D’s still learning how to truly dice up vegetables. I still show him how to get the smaller pieces, but have also had to make peace with those chunks of celery and carrots being a bit larger than I’d make them. Nothing squashes interest in helping better than a little criticism.
(4)Give credit where credit is due.
When D helped his dad with making chicken pot pie for dinner, Mr. O made sure that everyone else knew he’d helped to make the dinner. Not only could we thank D for his contribution, but he was also beaming with pride in having done a new task and received some praise for it.
Do you involve your children in the kitchen?
What types of dishes do they help make or make on their own?