Playing airplane, making animal noises, hopping on one foot while promising a tasty dessert…it’s quite a performance you have to stage to get kids to eat something besides chicken fingers or PB&J. Foodie that I am, one of my dreaded parental fears is that my daughter will stick to a strict dietary regimen of all French fries, all the time. Cooking with your kids is a great way to turn the daily routine of putting food on the table into family time.
1. Fun is the objective here! Think of games to go along with food preparation, like “Who can fill the bowl to the top first” or “See what shapes you can find as you stir.”
2. Give the kids crayons, markers and paper, and have them illustrate their version of what you’re making for dinner. This will give you an idea of what makes food appealing for them.
3. Make it look fun and special: shape sandwiches with cookie cutters, or plate food in patterns such as faces or trees.
4. Let the kids make a dish that’s all their own. Try a decorate-your-own pizza-, rice-, polenta-bar. Fill a few bowls with healthy ingredients that go with the dish and let them put what they want on top. It’s a great way to get them to try things in small doses: “Just put one mushroom on and see how you like it.”
In no time, I promise you’ll be hearing, “More peas, please!”