If you are looking for ways to interest your kids in good nutrition, try involving them in meal preparation. My older girls (ages 8 and 9) love to make fruit salads or eggs all “by themselves” (they still require some supervision, of course). It is fun to see how proud they are of their accomplishments, and they certainly enjoy eating their own cooking! It is also a great bonding time when we cook together. Not only do I get to spend time on a focused activity with my kids (which always produces lots of hugs and good conversation), but I am able to share with them the benefits of the foods that we are eating, and why it is important to eat healthy foods.
Here is my oldest cutie making scrambled eggs for our breakfast. She cracked the eggs, mixed them and cooked them, all with minimal help from me; and they were delicious! I’ve found that the earlier you start your children cooking their own healthy whole food meals, the less they ask for processed foods and snacks; which sets them on the path to developing life-long healthy eating habits.
The younger ones can contribute too by doing things like washing off fruit and veggies, shredding lettuce, cracking eggs (this can get a bit messy) or buttering toast. Even my little guy (age 3) gets involved. He loves to break up canned tuna or salmon and mix in the mayo and relish when I make tuna or salmon salad. He is remarkably capable.
Here is my 3rd born rinsing fruit for our breakfast:
Here are some other ways my kids help with meal times:
- Peeling carrots and cucumbers (this definitely needs supervision so they don’t cut their fingers with the vegetable peeler)
- Bringing food from fridge to table
- Making sandwiches, or even just getting the ingredients out for you
- Setting up the table and picking up after our meal (perhaps not quite as fun as the cooking part)
- Emptying and loading the dishwasher or washing the dishes – the dish washing part is always met with more enthusiasm than emptying and loading the dishwasher 🙂
Kids gain confidence, new skills that will serve them well as they grow older, a sense of helping their family and a better handle on good nutrition when they help you prepare healthy meals. Involving your kids in this way may seem a bit cumbersome at first, but very quickly you will realize that it is also a big help to you. Give it a try; you will be amazed at what your kids are capable of and how it helps your whole family become better aware of what they are putting in their bodies.
Check out this article for some more tips on how to get your kids to eat healthy: How To Get Kids To Eat Their Veggies
What ways do your kids help you get ready for meal time? As always, I love your comments and ideas.