These tips and tricks will get you excited to cook (and eat) with your little ones.
- Have your child help in the kitchen. There is no better way to get your child interested in food then letting them help you in the kitchen. Even toddlers can have small tasks they can do to help get dinner on the table or help make their afternoon snack. Making food together is a great way to help your child learn about food and get them interested in trying new things.
- When introducing a new food, serve it with other foods you know they will like. Try not to overwhelm them with lots of new things in one meal.
- Encourage at least one bite but don’t force them to eat it if they don’t like it. But don’t give up. Often it takes multiple times before a child will get used to the new flavor.
- If you are serving a new food ask your kids to find out where it came from and how it is grown or prepared. Then talk about what they like about it.
- Setting aside a few nights a week for family meals is a good way to reconnect and teach children table manners. Do you remember what you ate last night and what you talked about? Did you even sit at the table or was it more grab and go? Maybe it’s time to “take back dinner” for one night a week. Plan for an hour at the dinner table, enjoying your meal, talking with each other about the day or week ahead. Put the cell phones away and turn the television off so you can focus on reconnecting as a family.
- At the end of the meal ask each of your children what their favorite part of the meal was and why. Maybe it was a favorite food or telling a funny story or helping before in the kitchen. You are creating memories as well as teaching good eating habits.