Teach them Young: How Kids in the Kitchen can Fight Childhood Obesity
Teaching kids proper nutrition habits can be difficult, especially after you have had a long day yourself. However, too many children don’t actually know where their food comes from. That is to say they don’t really understand the difference between how a fast-food value meal is prepared and how a healthy, nutritious meal is prepared.
Kids can be a hassle in the kitchen. There is a lot going on, and for their own safety many parents instruct their children to stay out of the way while they are preparing dinner. While focusing on developing healthier eating habits and fighting childhood obesity, Jacksonville parents may benefits from encouraging their children to help during meal preparation.
Getting Kids Involved in Dinner
When your child is an active part of making a meal, they may be more inclined to eat what is on their plate without you standing over them or guarding the dog from taking away what they discard. Letting your kids help out in the kitchen doesn’t mean giving in to meals that they can cook themselves. There are a bunch of small tasks that are fit for even the youngest helpers.
Consider these ten ways that kids can be helpful in the kitchen:
- Have your child help you collect the ingredients from the pantry. For young kids, this is a good reading exercise as well.
- Measuring is a math lesson waiting to happen. When you need a ½ a cup of water, have your kid figure it out instead of reaching for the faucet yourself.
- Pouring ingredients is a fun activity that lots of kids enjoy helping with, though you may want to stand close by to prevent a mess.
- Stirring and mixing is a good arm workout, and by putting the bowl at the table for them to stir you can free up time for yourself to move onto the next task.
- Washing the dishes is a good chore that will teach your child the responsibility of cleaning up after yourself. It can also show your child how much work you put into making the meal.
- Pounding out the chicken is one of the best tasks in the kitchen—so it is understandable if you don’t want to share, but if you aren’t in need of the stress release then your kids may enjoy sharing the mallet.
- If the dish that you are preparing has any last minute items that get sprinkled on top, then leave that to your kids. Seeing the ingredient sit on top of the dish provides instant gratification to an excited child.
- While you are getting everything ready in the kitchen, asking your kids to set the table is an easy way to involve them in the preparation process.
- It is a better idea to serve up dishes in the kitchen instead of bringing all of the food to the table. Ask your kids to serve the food onto the plates. This is a good way to teach your kid’s proper portion sizes, too.
- Make cleaning up a team activity by encouraging your kids to wipe down the table, put away the leftovers and push in their chairs, in addition to helping with the dishes, of course.
Bringing your kids into the kitchen doesn’t need to be a nightmare. In fact, teaching your kids from an early age how to properly prepare foods may help fight childhood obesity and encourage them to develop a healthier relationship with food later on.