I am fully aware of my shortcomings as a person… I CANNOT COOK. There I've said it. I've put it out into the universe. As a mother and a woman, I've always felt the sense that the ability to be able to whip up a sumptuous meal that would satiate and nourish my family's collective bellies, was a MASSIVE internal flaw of mine. It made me less of a nurturing parent; my kids will not have those memories of mommy's specialty dishes that provided them comfort. That fresh baked goodness melting in their mouth, enveloping them in a warm, loving blanket of security– has not, and probably will never be derived from my prowess in the kitchen. However since embarking on my Weight Watchers journey I'm slowly dipping my toe into the the kitchen and determined to bake with my kids and therefore am sharing 10 Tips to Get your Kids in the Kitchen and Make Healthy Food FUN
Yes it's true their dad is just about the snappiest, short order cook they could hope for- whipping up his signature dishes; spaghetti and meatless meatballs and lasagna with the greatest of ease and the tastiest of results. Frankly I am jealous of this super power he has mastered and would love to get in the cooking game- and not over cook the pasta, burn the cake or make a tasteless cardboard consistency lasagna.
So even though I am not a cook I can still find ways to interact with them in the kitchen and even get them to eat healthy foods in the process! How you ask can I manage to achieve such a feat? Keep reading for 10 Tips to Get your Kids in the Kitchen and Make Healthy Food FUN!
We all know how much kids enjoy fast food happy meals, and pizza delivery. The problem is, while convenient and hassle-free, these meals do very little to promote a healthy and balanced diet. the culinary team at Chef Works, the leading supplier of culinary apparel for professional chefs and home cooks alike, have developed 10 Ways to Make Healthy Food Fun for Kids- which for a non-cook like me is a great way to interact with my kids in the kitchen and be part of their healthy food choices! Kids are attracted to fast food because it is recognizable. French fries can be “fried” in the oven for a similarly crisp exterior and pillowy interior.
#1 Enjoy a NO BAKE recipe like these Weight Watchers Energy Bites Just 4 points per Energy Bite!
- 1cup(s) Quaker Oats Oatmeal 9 Points
- 1⁄2cup(s )unsweetened coconut flakes 10 Points
- 1⁄2cup(s) smooth reduced fat peanut butter 23 Points
- 1⁄2cup(s) flax seed(s) 13 Points
- 1⁄2cup(s) semisweet chocolate chips 21 Points
- 1⁄3cup(s) honey 21 Points
- 1tsp vanilla extract 0 Points
Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.
Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Makes 24 balls. Six servings. Each serving is 4 energy balls – 16 points per serving – four points per energy bite!
#2 Sides can be more than potatoes.
Americans consume more than 4.5 billion pounds of French fries every single year. By getting the kids addicted early, that number is only increasing. There are over 400 vegetables that could work as enticing alternatives. Cook them simply to let their delicious flavors shine through.
#3 Fruit can be fun.
The amount of whole fruit that kids ate from 2003 to 2010 increased by 67%. That being said, the total number still remained low, but not nearly as low as vegetable consumption. Try arranging berries or fruit in a pleasing pattern or, better yet, let the kids create their own masterpieces before serving them for dinner. After all, kids do like to play with their food and a recent study says that messy kids that play with their food may be faster learners.
#4 Salads aren’t just for grown-ups.
We all know that salads are good for you but that doesn’t make them fun to eat. Serving a dip with a salad is much more kid-friendly than pouring the dressing on top. You can also serve the salad as a skewer so the picky kids can have control over how and what they eat.
#5 Consider the drinks you offer the young ones.
Milk or fruit juice are great accompaniments to most meals but fruit and vegetable smoothies can be a fun change of pace while also allowing you to add some much needed vitamin and nutrients to their diet.
#6 Change up your grains.
Many grains that are exposed to children are highly processed. They act as cheap fuel, explaining why kids have such extreme highs and lows (and tantrums). Whole grains are a great habit to introduce to kids and are delicious, especially when coated in the sauces that kids know and love (such as tomato sauce).Also, fresh whole grain bread is usually a hit with any age group.
#7 Explore your pasta-bilities.
Most kids will eat pasta anytime and anywhere. They act like they are carbo-loading for a big marathon (Maybe running at recess works out to a mini-marathon!). Since pasta is an easy win, consider offering more than one type. There is whole grain pasta, kamut pasta, oat bran pasta and many others that can be mixed in with their traditional semolina standby. Puree some vegetables straight into the sauce and it will feel like a treat for the kids while slowly developing their affinity for flavor.
#8 Take a familiar shape but change the ingredients.
When kids have a birthday party to attend, they are normally fed one of the following: hot dogs, hamburgers, or pizza. Repeat exposure creates a food familiarity for children, which explains why they often choose the same things again and again. According to Dr. Jennifer Orlet Fisher, “Children do not naturally like healthy foods. They need to learn to like those healthy foods. They like what they know.” Make the burger healthier by adding lots of chopped veggies into the mixture, substitute regular hot dogs with leaner turkey franks, and make your own pizzas with whole-wheat dough, low fat cheese, and various vegetable toppings.
#9 Let them assemble it themselves.
Kids love to do it themselves. Even when doing it themselves results in disaster. They like the self-sufficiency that comes with a product like Lunchables. Make any meal into a Lunchables-like experience by allowing them to assemble their own sandwiches, top their own personal healthy conscious pizzas, and select their own vegetables or grilled protein to add to their pasta.
#10 Allow the kids to pick their own fruits and vegetables.
Sure shopping with the kids can be a chore but allowing them to pick out their own fruits and vegetables at the grocery store or farmer’s market can be a great way for them to try something new.