Involving The Kids in Meal Preparations (guest post)

Start With Meal Planning and Shopping

Many parents wonder what they can do to get their children to eat healthier. Nutrition experts know that there is nothing like getting kids involved in meal preparations

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks

 to encourage them to eat healthier, and try new foods. This is especially true of children who tend to be picky eaters. Parents can start by getting children involved in meal planning and shopping. Make a list of healthy foods, including vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy and protein.

Once the list of healthy foods is made, allow your child to help make menus from the healthy food items. Once the menus are completed, it is time to go shopping. If you have young children, before going to the grocery store it is a good idea to give them a healthy snack. Like adults, when children go shopping on an empty stomach, everything in the store looks appetizing. Giving a child a snack or light meal prior to shopping helps parents avoid the pleading for candy and other items that usually occurs when children are hungry.

Upon arriving at the grocery store, allow your child to help pick out items on the list. Discuss where the foods come from or how they grow. Talk with your child about how you will prepare the food when you get home. Allow your child to pick out one healthy treat during the shopping trip. Healthy treats include items such as fresh fruit, string cheese, animal crackers and yogurt.

Allow Your Child to Help With Meal Preparation Tasks at Home

Children can learn a lot about meal preparation by observing, but hands on experience generates more interest in trying new foods. Children can help with basic meal preparation tasks such as tearing lettuce into pieces for a salad, and setting the table. Older children can help prepare foods by stirring, or helping mix muffins or other foods that will baked in an oven. Adding toppings to pizza, decorating cookies and cupcakes, and helping make sandwiches are also activities that help children develop basic meal preparation skills. As children get older, they will be able to take on additional tasks and even prepare meals on their own.

It is also important to teach food safety skills to children who help prepare meals at home. Children should be taught to wash hands thoroughly before preparing food, and after touching raw meat or poultry.

This guest article was contributed by Jennifer Bell from Health Training Guide. Jennifer is a freelance writer and mother of 2 based in Los Angeles, CA. Check out her site to learn more about vocational nurse training and other exciting health careers.

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