Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Welch’s, in participation with their #sharewhatsgood campaign. I was not compensated for this post, but did receive gift cards for my participation. Find out more at Share What’s Good.
As a registered dietitian and mother, one of my passions is cooking with kids. Even before I had my own children, I often spoke to parents, teachers, and caregivers about the importance of bringing children into the kitchen and getting them involved in different steps of meal preparation. In fact, my first published book, We Can Cook: Introduce Your Child to the Joy of Cooking with 75 Simple Recipes and Activities, is a cookbook designed for young kids – ages 3 to 6 – to actively cook with their parents.
The benefits of cooking with kids are numerous, including increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, greater willingness of children to try new foods, parents and children spending quality time together, less time spent in front of the TV or video games, reiteration of math, science, and reading skills, and greater likelihood of family meals.
Before my twins were born, I spent time relishing in what my nephews ate and their interest in cooking. And for the past 19 months I have experienced so much pleasure watching my own children taste a variety of foods and eat a really well-balanced diet. But the moment I have long been waiting for has finally come: my 20-month old girls are ready to stand beside me at the kitchen counter and help me cook!
Granted they’re not ready to crack eggs or flip pancakes, but we’ll get there. For now, they can stand at the counter or sit in their highchairs and be introduced to a variety of ingredients and the process of making a recipe from start to finish. And there are a few small tasks they can help with like ripping salad greens, rolling limes to get the juices flowing (see pictures below), stirring ingredients with a fork or spoon, and tossing vegetables with olive oil on a baking pan. With my assistance they have even helped me peel and seed cucumbers. The biggest challenge: teaching them not to eat everything before it’s cooked and the mess they make! But it’s well worth it – they love helping mommy in the kitchen (and I love having them!) and they get so excited to stand on their step stools and be part of the experience.
This is the epitome of what is good in life.
How do you share what’s good with your family?