One of the things I am most passionate about it is teaching my children how to cook. As soon as they are steady, they received their own kitchen step stool so they can work right at my side as we make breakfast, lunch and dinner. While they may not always “help” I know that keeping them in the kitchen with me has led to good eating habits and a curiosity about how to make, bake, and create things in the kitchen. As we hear the news about the increase in childhood obesity, my greatest wish is for kids to learn how to make healthy choices at a young age. Thankfully there are a number of great tools available to help those families looking to bring some excitement into their kitchen.
I recently learned about Season’s Eatings, an online class developed by a local teacher, that helps bring simple, seasonal foods to the dinner table. Leah Cherry is a Rhode Island mom with a passion for food, nutrition, environmentalism and community. As an extension of her blog Skill It, Leah created Season’s Eatings to offer an easy way for families to get seasonal meal plans delivered to their inbox. Each class includes the following:
- 4 weeks of family friendly recipes delivered via email
- Ideas and tips to customize each meal.
- Activities like Chef’s Note, Table Setting Tips and more
- Connection and community in a private Facebook group.
I totally agree with Leah’s sentiment that we have to make family dinnertime important. So many studies have shown an improvement in kid’s health and emotional well being when they are able to sit down as family every night. It may not be at 5:30 for every family, but I encourage you to make it work for your schedule.
Another favorite tool to get kids excited about cooking is having them help choose what to make. I make my meal plans every week and I often ask what the kids want. I often hear either “meatballs” or “chicken nuggets,” not exciting but I like giving them a chance for input. For older children, they have the chance to read through recipes and make suggestions. Chop Chop is the fun cooking magazine for families that can help inspire new things to make in the kitchen. I’ve met some of the editors and stylists from Chop Chop magazine and this group really gets it when it comes to making things appealing to kids. Their simple suggestion of prepping as much as you can prior to having kids help was a big time saver when it came to cooking with my toddlers. If there are a lot of ingredients to measure, I can set some of them aside in bowls so the kids can be in charge of dumping them. My kids are still a little young for the magazine, but I love seeing older children flip through it and ask questions about the kids pictured in the articles cooking real food.
A few other fun accessories you can bring into your cooking routine to add some excitement is using lots of color, both in your food choices and dish ware. Silicone baking cups can be used to house a side dish or extra fruit and add color to a plate. Skewers are a new favorite in our house at both lunch and dinner. Create some silly faces with your food, there are lots of inspiring pictures to be found on Pinterest. Dipping sauces are also fun to offer with different meals; let your kids know there are other options besides ketchup and ranch dressing.
I’m excited to share that two lucky readers will win a subscription to both Season’s Eatings online meal course starting February 4th and Chop Chop magazine. (English or spanish editions available!) Please enter using the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway is open till midnight on January 25th. Winner will be notified via email and must be a US resident.