by Janelle Sorensen
My daughters love to help make food -- my youngest especially (maybe because as a babe, she was always in a pack on either my husband's or my back when we cooked). I know it also helps that we invite our girls to help create the menu for the week, grocery shop, cook, and -- yes -- even clean up. To our delight, they eagerly oblige on all accounts (okay, the clean up takes a little prodding sometimes).
There are so many benefits to getting kids in the kitchen, I don't even know where to start. But, the short list includes:
- Kids eat better when they are involved with the preparation.
- Teaching kids to cook empowers them to be lifelong healthy eaters.
- Cooking together is quality family time.
- Cooking should be teamwork, as a savvy 4-year-old chef says to his mom Jenny, from Nourished Kitchen, as he prepares a side of salmon. (Seriously, you have to watch him! The video is available on Youtube)
So, maybe you can't entrust your own four-year-old with a side of salmon. Maybe you haven't ever tackled something like that yourself.
Decide what works for your family and get cooking together -- once a week, once a day -- get on a schedule.
If you have a baby let her sit somewhere nearby where she can experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the kitchen.
If you have a toddler, find easy ways to help (pushing a button on the blender, putting lettuce in bowls, stirring, etc).
Every little bit of shared kitchen time helps teach your child invaluable skills for healthy living.
How do your children help out in the kitchen? How do you hope they will in the future? Have you checked out our Eat Healthy recipes? Each one has a tip for getting kids involved.
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