Well, I’m back talking, or should I say writing about cooking with kids. In my last article, I suggested that you get your kids to help you cook. I said, make them cut up the vegetables. I thought about what else we can do as parents to make our kids eat healthier and I came back to cooking with the kids. What else can we do while cooking with them to make them make better choices about what they eat.
One way I get my kids to try different foods is that I give them choices. What do I mean by this? When my kids ask for a snack, I basically grab two different fruits or vegetables and tell them “Which one should we have”? If you noticed that I didn’t say “which one do you want”? If I make them think that I want to get involved in this process too, they get excited. They make a decision for me. Instead of me doing it to them. Another word for it is FREEDOM. So then they make the choice and I sit down and talk to them. Again, this as a parent allows me to have a moment with them and find out what is going on with them. One thing I need to mention now is when you keep up the healthy snacks, make sure you know that there is a chance that they will want them. Do not stop eating something that they do not have the opportunity to eat. Also, don’t hold up a snack that you won’t eat as well.
Another question many parents encounter is the dreaded word “It’s Yucky”. I get to hear this all the time from my kids. I find that if you have them in the process of cooking, a lot of the creepy talk goes away. When I say engage them in the cooking process, I mean they get stirred. Have them measure ingredients. Let them add them to the pan. Sure you should be nearby if the burner is on. Yes, you have to tell them it’s hot. But hey kids are smart and they are learning fast. I tell you if my kids help me do all this, they will 9 out of 10 times try the dish we cook. When it’s time to try to see if it needs more spices, get them to try. But if something is really tremendous to them, then acknowledge it. If we don’t like something, we say it. So why shouldn’t they. My kids are still trying to get me to eat a banana, and I simply say mom doesn’t like them. Frankly, I could almost shout that I hate them. But I am the parent.
The last issue I want to touch on is just because you don’t like it or because you think it’s too spicy doesn’t mean it’s the same for your kids. My 2-year-old loves spicy food. I’m not talking hot wings, but I cook with chili and hot sauce and he likes it. I remember when my first son was about 8 months old and we were having Thanksgiving dinner with my parents. I gave my son some fullness and my mother was horrified. She said there are a lot of spices in it. He’s getting sick. Well, he ate everything he could, and then pumpkin pie (more spice), and he was a happy little boy. Hey let them try it. What’s the worst, they spit it out.
Then again, have these kids cook, stir the measurement and have fun. Like I said before, it’s baby steps. But what do you really need to lose. The way I see it you only get.
Enjoy cooking with your children and enjoy your children.