Cooking With Children in Mind
If you are considering cooking with children, you need to be prepared and make sure you have the proper ingredients on hand before beginning. You will certainly need your patience and you would not want to leave in the middle of things to run to the local grocery store to pick up the missing ingredients.
Another very important rule when it comes to cooking with children is to clean as you go whenever possible. While there is part of you that will want to put off this task, cleaning the mess that is made rather than waiting until the end prevents successive mess to compound each other. Constantly clean throughout the process for the best possible results is my advice. Enlist your children in the cleaning process as well. While it may be easier to do yourself, it is far more important to teach them the basics of cleaning, as a part of the process, as you go. Remember one day they will more than likely invade your kitchen while you’re not looking and good habits will pay in the long-term.
Cooking for toddlers and growing children presents some unique challenges along the way. While you want to provide them with those ever so important nutrients, it is often difficult to get them to eat those foods that are best for their growing bodies, however you make them attractive. Most of us are all probably well aware of the food pyramid and the number of servings our children need of healthy grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and calcium products. Getting them to eat these nourishing products is, however, another matter all together unfortunately.
Cooking healthier meals for kids is now easier than ever before. Fresh fruits and vegetables are best whenever possible and packaging is just as important as a persuasive factor. However, if you cannot manage fresh, you should avoid canned (fruits especially as they are often swimming in sugary sweetness) whenever possible. Frozen is far preferable to canned when it comes to both fruit and vegetables, as there are often fewer additives.
Perhaps the greatest gift you can give yourself (much greater than the help in the kitchen) by ‘forcing’ your little ones to help prepare dinner is that they will learn to better appreciate your culinary efforts and eat peacefully rather than sullenly. They also take some ownership of what they produce. This tactic has met with great success in my house and I’m sure you will enjoy the same.