Letting kids help you in the kitchen can be hard, it’s true. But even though allowing littles to “help” you in the kitchen can be difficult physically and mentally, but the end result is worth it!
Here’s ideas for what your about what your kids can actually do for meal prep by age.
Meal prep tasks for young toddlers
I let each of my kids get involved in meal prep around 18 months old. They only do really simple things, and I have to be right on top of them, but I want them to get the idea that cooking is fun!
I have found that when they’re this tiny, they’re too short to reach the counter, even with a stool! Plus, they’re still pretty squirmy. Putting them in their high chair/booster seat solves the problem by letting them reach either the table or their little tray.
There are so many positive outcomes from letting your child help you cook or bake! Like we’ve discussed before, it gives them the opportunity to learn through doing, and it just gives them something to do instead of whine about being hungry while you’re trying to cook!
Plus, kids are more interested in eating something they made themselves (helping them overcome pickiness!). And, of course, one day they’ll have to cook for themselves, so they have to learn somehow.
But let’s be real: If you’re like me, you sometimes really don’t want to deal with having them “help” in the kitchen, especially when they’re little. It’s the control issues we have, right?
They’re gonna make a huge mess.
This will take way longer than if I just did it myself.
They’ll just squabble over turns while they’re at the counter.
I’d really just like the chance to do something without them.
I can do it better.
And I’m not saying this in a judgy way. I’m saying this because these are exactly the things that run through my head when I consider letting my kids get involved in cooking.
And certainly, there are days when it just won’t work to let your kids help in the kitchen. But if you can set aside a time or two a week to let them get involved, it will allow them to build self-efficacy and self-confidence, two things they’re going to need their whole lives (and certainly not just in the kitchen). (more…)
Let’s start by discussing what a genetically modified organism (GMO) is. Most of the time, we’re talking about food crops when we discuss GMOs. In genetically modified organisms, a gene causing a desirable trait is taken from one organism and “plugged in” to another, so that the resulting plant has the trait we want. (more…)
Almost every night, I set a plate down in front of General Leia, and for at least one food on there, she whines, “I don’t like this!” which is inevitably parroted by Bella Bean: “I don’t like dis!” Yet they end up eating at least some of it. My kids actually have a pretty varied diet, and I feel confident that their palette will continue to expand as they get older. So how is this happening?
In Parts I, II, and III of this series, we established the pros and cons of buying organic food. In Part IV, we talked about how you can get the most bang for your buck, nutritionally speaking, by buying groceries selectively. But we all know that the most healthful food in the world isn’t going to help your kid if he or she won’t eat it. So what do we do when our child is really used to a narrow diet and is unwilling to try new foods?
First and foremost, relax. Think back to yourself when you were a kid. Did you refuse a lot of foods then that you like, or even love, now? Or do you at least know of someone else who you saw grow up to eat a more varied diet? So see? It’s going to be okay. (more…)
In Parts I and II of our food series, we discussed how to avoid pesticides in our foods, while in Part III, we looked at the nutrition of organic versus conventional food. Perhaps your takeaway was, “That’s cute. I’d like to have healthier food options, but they’re just so expensive! Plus, produce goes bad so quickly.” I’m hoping to give us options for some nutrient dense foods that are relatively cheap.
The idea here is that we’re comparing cost per calorie in food. The farther to the right a food is, the more calories it has, hence fats and oils being all the way to the right. And the farther up the graph a food is, the more expensive it is (case in point: you knew meat is expensive). A lot of our processed, unhealthy foods that don’t provide many vitamins, minerals, and/or other nutrients. These belong either in the “sugars, sweets, and beverages” category or the “grains” category. Now, this is not to say that grains can’t be healthy, it just means that most of the products made with grains (many breads, crackers, tortilla chips, and snack foods) aren’t. On the other hand, you don’t get a lot of calories from most fruits or veggies, but they cost nearly as much as grains, making them less economical, at least in terms of calories.
What the graph above doesn’t show is cost per micronutrients, which are vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, all that stuff. (more…)