Do you ever wonder why "kid friendly" is generally associated with foods that are fried, processed or loaded with dyes and/or preservatives? To me, kid friendly simply means fun, colorful, easy to eat, and, of course, delicious. The sooner you expand your kids' horizons to different ingredients and foods, the sooner you can ignite an interest in healthy eating. And before you know it, that interest will foster a life-long, positive attitude towards fresh food. The process is pretty easy:
Invite Them as Your Little Helper
Children as young as two years old can start helping with tasks like wiping tables, washing fresh produce, or handing you ingredients, to name a few. Older kids can help chop, peel, and prep. All of these options present a fun way to spend quality time with your kids and help them develop basic kitchen or cooking skills. It doesn’t hurt to have the extra cute company, either.
(Stepping stools come in handy—the one here helps my grandson see what's going on!)
Show Them the Fun of Food
So many options here! Let them brainstorm a fun name for a new recipe. Cut your food into a variety of shapes. Incorporate as many different colors as you can into one dish (salads are good for this). The key here is to build a positive attitude about meal preparation, cooking, and fresh ingredients. If you need some inspiration to get started, check out our Kid’s Corner. You’ll find recipes that young kids will LOVE, like homemade creamsicles, banana pancakes, and fruity smoothies. Actually, you’ll love them, too!
Pick Their Brain
Make them feel vital to the meal! Ask your kids what fresh fruits and veggies they would like you to include in dinner. Their sweet little faces will light up when they sit down to eat and see that mom, dad, or whoever the chef of the day was used their suggestion to make a meal for the family. Talk about a confidence boost!
Kid-friendly doesn't have to mean unhealthy. It's time we start sharing our wisdom, because healthy eating habits start young!