Many parents worry that their children aren’t eating a balanced diet, and introducing new foods to your child can be a daunting task for both parents and children. One way to encourage your child to be a more adventurous eater is by having them help out in the kitchen. By including your child in your meal time prep and cooking routines, you are helping to build their confidence, create family memories, and set the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
Start with the Prep – Go Shopping Together
Include your child in your grocery shopping trip. While at the store, let your child explore the produce section’s variety of fruits and vegetables. Point out the different shapes, textures, and colors and discuss flavors and what sorts of dishes could be made with them. Read off your list and have your child be in charge of finding the items and put them in the cart. If you have your own garden, bring your child out with you to help harvest the produce and herbs. As you gather your ingredients, talk to your child about how these items will become a tasty meal or snack.
Communicate and Make Prep Fun
Adapting a healthy lifestyle is a family decision. Share with your child why it’s important to eat a variety of foods. Have your child help you create a colorful menu by drawing the different foods you saw together at the grocery store. Pick out fun plates and silverware to serve your new foods. Presentation plays a large role when it comes to food, especially with kids. In addition to fun dinnerware, try shaping the food into fun designs by using cookie cutters if possible.
Let’s Get Cooking
Allow your child to participate in the cooking process with age- and behavior-appropriate tasks, such as mixing, measuring, chopping, and more. Most of the time, playing an active role in the creation of a dish makes it much more exciting to try the end product, allowing your family to create more nutritious meals.
Incorporating more vegetables into your family’s diet doesn’t need to be boring. A quick search online will yield many playful and nutritious kid-friendly recipes, like Zucchini and Corn Pirate Boats and Yogurt Freezer Pops. For more inspiration on cooking with your kids in the kitchen check out Food Network’s list of Recipes Kids Can Make.
When you start the journey towards a more adventurous, healthy diet with your kids, it’s important to have patience. Try to incorporate one new food per week to start and see how everyone adapts. Count each bite as a small victory and don’t be discouraged if they discover something they truly do not enjoy – not everyone likes every healthy ingredient!
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s eating habits, or need more ideas to overcome your child’s picky eating, contact us today.