Want your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables but not sure how to begin? You’re not alone. Nine out of ten kids don’t eat enough vegetables and six out of ten don’t eat enough fruit. Changing kids’ eating habits can be tricky. But you can start now by cooking with your kids! Not only will your picky eater be more likely to try new foods, it’s a great way to increase their fruit and vegetable intake, expand their palates, and spend quality time together.
I know it takes a lot of patience and a bit of time to cook with kids. It takes longer to follow a recipe when little hands are involved, it takes time to teach your kids the skills needed to prepare meals, and you may be left with a big mess. However, the benefits are well worth it!
Here are the top 10 reasons you should be cooking with your kids:
1. EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Kids who help cook have healthier diets and eat more fruits and vegetables than those who don’t. Plus, they grow to like the taste of vegetables more.
2. DECREASE PICKY EATING
Kids are more willing to try new foods or previously disliked ones (like vegetables!) if they help prepare it.
3. CHOOSE HEALTHIER FOOD
Kids who regularly cook at home have a greater ability to select healthy foods than those who don’t.
4. BOOST CONFIDENCE
Kids feel proud of themselves and gain a sense of accomplishment when they help create a meal. Learning to cook increases their independence and self esteem.
5. BOND WITH YOUR CHILD
Children who spend quality time cooking with their families form closer relationships. It fosters communication and collaboration between siblings too.
6. LEARN AN IMPORTANT LIFE SKILL
Kids who learn to cook when they are younger are more likely to cook and select healthy foods as adults.
7. BUILD MATH SKILLS
Toddlers to teenagers can practice their math skills. From counting ingredients to learning about measurements to practicing fractions, following a recipe provides lots of opportunities to practice.
8. BOOST READING AND LANGUAGE
Reading age kids can practice their skills by reading, gathering the ingredients, and following the recipe themselves. If they don’t read yet, boost their language skills by reading the recipe to them and talking about each step and ingredient along the way.
9. SEE SCIENCE AT WORK
Tons of scientific concepts are happening during cooking like: what happens to food when it is cooked, why does water boil, and why does baking soda make things rise?
10. PRACTICE FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Kitchen tasks such as mixing, chopping, peeling and pouring help a child practice small movements and control.
Do you currently cook with your kid? Please leave a comment and let me know why or why not? And if so, what’s your favorite food to cook with them?