When our children are little, it is often a good time to become more aware of the way we eat. The benefits of a healthy diet while pregnant or breastfeeding are well know. When baby is ready to try on solids, establishing good eating habits is essential.
Healthy eating isn’t about boring steamed vegetables, it’s about making good food fun and enjoyable. Part of our responsibilities as parents is to develop our children’s taste buds to make them adventurous foodies, ready to try new flavours and new textures, make them aware of seasonal and local produce.
Taking them to the local farmers market and chat with the stall holders is part of the fun. Never miss a chance to talk to them about where our food comes from, why we choose not to buy strawberries in winter or battery farmed chickens, how you’ll prepare the ingredients you’ve just bought.
Cooking by colour is sure to pick their interest. One day, it’s pink soup (beetroot). Once they’re cooked, let the kids peel the beetroot (don’t forget a child apron!), they’ll giggle at the sight of their pink fingers. Another day, try orange soup (pumpkin, sweet potatoes and orange has a delicate sweet flavour). Try smoothies too, orange (mango & orange) or for the more adventurous green (avocado, banana, lime, spinach and milk). Check your local markets or supermarkets for rarer varieties, green tomatoes, purple potatoes…
Growing your own fruit and vegetable is a fantastic way to get your children interested. Even if you don’t have a garden or an allotment, try a few pots in the kitchen with baby tomatoes, strawberries, basil. The window box gardens would be ideal. How much fun would it be to pick a few tomatoes packed with vitamins to pop in their lunch bags?
Let the children get involved in the kitchen, knead the dough, peel and cut vegetables, stir cake mixes, spread the topping on their pizza… Sure it’s going to get messy but seeing the pride on their faces at the results makes it all worth it. They also learn essential skills, gradually learning the dangers in the kitchens, knives are sharp, the oven is hot.
Then comes the time to clean up and every one can chip in. Kids will love getting their hands in the soapy water, preferably with as much bubble as possible.
How is it at your house? Do your kids enjoy cooking? Do you give them a chance to help?