Did you know that kids who help cook eat more healthy food? Research shows that cooking with children is beneficial in many different ways. Here are 7 ideas:
1. Create food art
Make healthy eating fun for kids by getting creative at mealtime.
Presenting food in the form of a picture or simple pattern, or decorating the rim of the plate, can make it more exciting and enticing for children. Animals and faces are always popular, and broccoli and cauliflower make excellent trees! You might also want to try letting your kids use cookie cutters to cut peppers and cucumbers into interesting shapes like hearts, stars and diamonds.
2. Get kids involved
Children tend to eat more of the healthy food on their plate when they help prepare it. In fact, research shows that cooking together can be beneficial in many different ways from fostering family togetherness to supporting better results for children in school.
There are lots of tasks that your children can help with. Washing, grating or mashing are all fun activities for kids. And don’t forget the washing up too!
3. Stick with water
Make water the drink of choice at meal times, and keep juice and sweet drinks as occasional treats. While juice can have valuable nutrients and gives a concentrated energy boost for growing bodies, kids should go for water first when they are thirsty and not sugar-sweetened drinks.
4. Bond over baking
The kitchen is a great place to spend more time with your kids. No fancy equipment or expensive memberships required! Baking cookies with kids can take an ordinary afternoon and make it extraordinary.
5. Build life skills
Cooking with kids can be a great opportunity to teach important life skills.
You can talk about math and fractions when measuring ingredients or cutting a pizza into wedges. Or help them understand more about hygiene and food safety while washing hands and preparing your work space. You can talk about healthy eating while you prepare and assemble your meal.
6. Encourage their imagination
Encourage your kids to be imaginative in the kitchen. Give them free-reign when decorating their cookies, or challenge them to create a fruit-salad rainbow or vegetable animals.
You could let kids cook with friends and turn it into a contest to see who can come up with the best design. But remember, everyone is a winner as they all get to enjoy a delicious prize!
7. Don’t stress about the mess
Try not to worry about the mess that children will make having fun in the kitchen. Let them be creative. They can also be part of the clean-up team when it’s all over.
This piece was originally published on nestle.com