Getting your Kids Involved
Get your kids involved in with food – growing it, buying it, preparing it, eating it and cleaning up! Home economics isn’t taught in schools anymore, so many teens are sent off to dorm-life only knowing how to cook Kraft Dinner. Think of cooking & appreciation of food as a skill you should be teaching your children as they grow. They will thank you when they are older (and so will their spouse!).
Here are some things you can do to get your kids involved. As a bonus, getting young children involved means they will be more likely to actually try the food they helped grow/choose/prepare.
- Ask each family member to pick out what they would like for dinner one day of the week, to help meal plan.
- Grow a garden. Even herbs in little planters!
- Visit a u-pick or farm, so your kids know where their food comes from.
- Let them pick out a new fruit of veggie to try at the store.
- Let them help cook. Even little kids can rinse lettuce or stir muffin batter. Teens can each be responsible for cooking one night per week.
- Get them to help you with setting the table and clearing it.
And then, most importantly EAT with your family!! Children who have regular family meals not only have better nutrient intake, but they are less likely to have eating disorders, they do better in school and are less likely to be involved with risky activities like drugs and alcohol. This is not necessarily all due to proper food intake, but family communication, which is especially important as your babies and toddlers grow into adolescents. To get in the habit, start family meals when your child stats solids, if possible. I see many moms who feed their baby first, and then eat after by themselves or with their spouse. One drawback of this is that the concentration is 100% on your child eating, and this can lead to too much pressure on your child to eat and picky eating battles.