After a long day, making family dinner with the little ones can seem like a daunting task, but the process is a great way to teach kids about nutrition, cooking, and for instilling confidence.
In addition, research indicates that cooking at home is one of the best things you can do to improve your own health! According to a 2014 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Study, people who cook at home tend to eat fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat, even if they are not trying to lose weight.
Cooking together can improve your health, strengthen bonds, foster communication, and save you money. Check out these tips and tricks to make meal prepping with kiddos a breeze!
Just Get Started
Even the tiniest of hands can start by washing produce in a strainer and progress to new tasks like using a vegetable peeler. The first step is to begin with simple tasks. Although their attention span may be short, children love to learn and thrive on gaining new responsibility!
Include children in deciding what to make and buy when grocery shopping. For example, if you are making stir fry, ask them to pick a vegetable to include. Allowing them to give input helps them to feel invested and get creative! If their suggestion is, well…overly creative, consider offering them a few options such as carrots, pea pods, or broccoli to narrow down choices.
Have a few favorites
Having a few favorite standby dishes is a great way to practice techniques and teach independence. Making healthy versions of favorite foods like pizza and tacos helps build excitement and offers opportunity to talk about healthy eating. Simple tasks like adding fresh vegetables or portioning ingredients sets the stage for teachable moments!
If busy schedules, homework, or time interrupt plans, try to just go with it. Cooking together should be fun, not stressful.
Sarah Mattison Berndt, MS, RD, CD
Owner Fit Fresh Cuisine & Hybrid Athletic Club