If you want your children to eat a healthy, nutritious diet, there is probably no better way than to include them in the cooking process whenever possible. Most children are interested in the kitchen, especially if they see mom in there. Look at any toy store for proof of cooking’s popularity with children as evidenced by the kitchen sets, fake foods and even the classic Easy-Bake Oven. By including your children in the cooking process, you will not only be bonding with them but you will also be teaching your children lifelong eating habits.
Take Your Kids Grocery Shopping
Cooking can start with having your child help you choose ingredients for meals. Teach your child about healthy eating by shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. According to the Help Guide website, that is generally where the healthier ingredients are–the fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish, whole-grain products and dairy products. The aisles tend to have the processed foods. Let your child pick out some healthy foods.
You can teach math skills during your cooking project by letting your child do the measuring. To keep your stress level at a minimum, choose recipes that don’t require exact measurements. For measuring liquids, you can teach your child how to read the measurements at eye level.
Teach the Rules
Before you start, teach your children some basic rules, according to “Kids’ Cookbook.” Children should not attempt to cook unless an adult is there to supervise. Do not let young children handle sharp objects. Make sure your child washes his hands. Make sure your work area is clean, and wash fruits and vegetables before using them. For older children, teach them how to cut using a cutting board and curling their fingers inward when chopping. Tell your children always to use oven mitts or a potholder for hot items.
Start your child off with something she likes before progressing to new foods. A recipe that many children like is sticky chicken wings. Have your child put in a bowl 2 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. orange juice, 2 tbsp. soy sauce, 2 tbsp. honey, 1/2 tsp. paprika and one minced garlic clove, and mix it all together. Add 12 chicken wings, and coat them with the sauce. Cover and refrigerate for one to two hours. Explain to your child that you are marinating the chicken. Just before cooking, preheat the oven to 400 F. Have your child put the wings on a baking sheet and pour the sauce on top. You can put the chicken in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven, and let your child turn the wings using tongs. Put the chicken back in for another 15 minutes. Your child will be proud to serve dinner that night.
It is often difficult to get children to eat vegetables and salad. One kid-friendly salad is a green salad with chicken and bacon. You can cook two chicken breasts and fry eight slices of bacon ahead of time. Let your child cut up the chicken, bacon and vegetables and make the dressing. Get out a chopping board, and have your child chop everything up. He can chop lettuce, a cucumber and some tomatoes. Let him choose any extra ingredients, such as a red onion, scallions, zucchini or bell pepper. Have him cut everything into the same size pieces and put them into a bowl along with the chicken and bacon. Make dressing by mixing 5 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 2 tbsp. Dijon-style mustard and 1 tbsp. honey in a jar with a lid. Have your child give the jar a good shake until he mixes it well. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss and serve.
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