By Laura Howenstine
Dietetic Intern, Keene State College
Having trouble with a picky eater? Need to keep your kids entertained this summer? Corral them in the kitchen! Studies show that kids who help grow, shop for, or prepare their food eat a more diverse diet than those that do not. Cooking with kids is a great way to keep them busy on a rainy day, teach them a few life lessons, and introduce them to new foods. So stock up on paper towels, this could get messy!
- Make shopping a fun game. Take your child to the grocery store and each week challenge them to find a fruit or vegetable that they have never tried.
- Get creative! Cut fruits and vegetables into different shapes and sizes, and then have a competition to see who can make the best veggie superhero. Add some extra surprises such as hummus, peanut butter, or yogurt for dipping.
- Allow kids to make decisions. Have a quesadilla night with various vegetables for fillings. Let your child choose their favorites.
- Get it at the source. Buying whole foods is all around a better option, but especially with kids in the kitchen. Allow them to wash the fresh dirt off a bunch of carrots, or scrub a potato. This allows them more opportunity to see where their food comes from and appreciate the freshness of in-season produce.
- Chop it up. Teach kids knife safety by allowing them to chop up fruits and vegetables. Plastic knives are a safer option for the younger ones.
- Enjoy the mess. Let’s be honest, kids are messy, and the kids in the kitchen are no exception. Water will be spilled, flour will be dusted … but paper towels do exist! Try not to fret about the mess made while enjoying time with your kids.