As unwise as it might sound, getting your kids in the kitchen and involved in meal making is great for teaching them the importance of being healthy and essentially about food in general. There are so many great tips and learning aids you can do with your child in the kitchen that will teach them and build habits as they grow into adulthood. Have some fun with it and explore new foods together.
Now be prepared to get a bit messy but that is the fun of it all! With toddlers your teaching them the names of food, colours, safety in the kitchen and showing them what healthy looks like.
Some things you can try include:
Developing a recipe together, even if it doesn’t go to plan.
Creating a vegie garden, this will help children understand where our vegetables come from and the importance of growing them.
Depending on age, you can focus on finger foods, as this makes it interactive and fun. Meanwhile teaching them to count and about colours.
Always remembering to create a positive attitude towards food and never labelling food as bad but as a “sometimes” food.
Teaching them about food safety, always wash your hands before handling food, what utensils are safe and what goes in the fridge.
At this stage your children have probably developed what they do and don’t like. So, in this age group it’s all about teaching them healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Focusing on building self-care and self-sufficiency skills and start introducing the nutritional value of food.
Explore the senses associated with food; smell, touch, colour, taste, texture and sound. Compare fresh fruit and vegetables to cooked.
Allowing your children to choose a meal or recipe and help them prepare and cook it for the family. Always considering appropriate kitchen utensils.
Get them involved with family meals or celebrations, this will help build appreciation and increase responsibility around meal time.
Also teaching them about setting the table and cleaning up.
As your children get older, you can encourage them to prepare dinner once a week or just help with meal preparation in general. Installing these behaviours and habits at an early age can not only help create a healthy lifestyle but also build a better understanding of food appreciation.
Recipes that are children friendly are anything that can be hands on and creative. From savoury to sweet.
Create a vegie superhero
Chicken and Carrot roll ups
Frozen yoghurt fruit bark
Having kids in the kitchen is an important part of building life skills and establishing healthy habits and behaviours. But most importantly it’s about having fun and getting a bit messy.