There are a few constants in my nutrition practice which I consult with parents about pretty regularly. One of these is picky eaters. There are a lot of them out there and there are many reasons for picky eating, which I will explore at a later date. Today I thought I would share with you the magic that happens when parents involve their children in the process of making food. I say magic because it is.
I have had little clients eat foods they previously said they didn’t like after they had grown it. I have had little clients eager to find a recipe for a new food they picked out at the grocery store. There is an excitement in their eyes when they tell me about it…that is the magic.
So, just how can you involve your little ones in the process of food preparation, here are a few ways:
Take them grocery shopping. Yes I know parents can do the groceries a whole lot faster without little ones tagging along, but when they are involved in picking out the fruit or vegetables they are excited about it, they want to touch it, they want to smell it and eventually they want to eat it.
Plant a garden. There is nothing more magical then growing your own food. Planting a seed, tending to its every need, watching it grow and then seeing a vegetable or fruit start to peak out and grow right in front of your eyes…well it is exciting for kids, and adults. It doesn’t have to be a big garden, just something small. Tomatoes, cucumber, kale, Swiss chard, zucchini, beans and snow peas are all super easy to grow.
Let them help with food preparation. Kids love to play in water, let them wash the vegetables. My little guy loves to use the vegetable peeler and you can find him most nights peeling carrots for dinner. Are you using the food processor or blender let them turn it on and off, let them press the buttons and let them add ingredients too, whatever you can let them do, let them. Yes I know it means it may be a little bit messier in the kitchen, but you are teaching them about food and they will love it!
By involving our children in the process we teach them about food, where it comes from and how to prepare it. They develop a love for the process and eventually a love for the food they are helping to buy, grow and prepare.
It is the best kind of magic.