Cooking with kids probably doesn’t sound like much fun to most busy moms. In fact, if you have kids under 5, you are probably thinking I am a little bit insane.
You might even be imagining what a dinner made by a preschooler would consist of…
If I left dinner up to my four year old son, we would be eating mac n’ cheese without a doubt. Yes, I have a career in nutrition and my four year old eats mac n’ cheese. I’m human.
Letting go of your inner control freak and putting your planned-out dinner menu on hold for one day won’t kill you.
I often use this idea as a “situation diffuser”.
When I start spying my little guy searching for snacks before dinner time, what better way to distract him than to ask him to help me cook dinner?
9 times out of 10, it works!
<<This is one of those sneaky mom tricks I have learned over the years!>>
I tell him he can help by being a taste tester for dinner and let him snack on ingredients going into that night’s dinner.
Kids like feeling like they are doing something important and will usually be excited to contribute. This will hopefully encourage them to try the foods they are preparing for the family. So when I say let the kids cook, I really mean let the kids help YOU cook.
Here are some easy ways I let my kids help me with dinner:
- Give them a choice between 3-4 healthy recipes you have picked out
- Even if they say they don’t like any of the options provided, they ALWAYS pick one and thus are more likely to eat it because THEY picked it out.
- Gathering the ingredients listed on the recipe
- Measuring out the ingredients
- Mixing, stirring, pouring, etc.
- Cutting up vegetables (with supervision, of course)
- Taste testing (This is by far their favorite task, regardless of whether or not they even like the food they are making)
I can’t guarantee that it will be a success the first (and maybe only) time you try this but speaking from personal experience, it at least opened the door for my extremely picky little eaters to try foods they normally would turn up their noses to, simply because they helped make it!