katy here, the resident fitlosophy food fanatic! so often, we underestimate our kids, believing them to be too young or inexperienced to handle even the most basic of kitchen chores. the reality? even children as young as 2 or 3 can make meaningful contributions to mealtimes with little jobs like stirring, setting the table + rinsing the produce. and trust me, getting them involved in the process now - while often more of a chore for you at this stage in the game - will definitely pay off later! here are 4 fantastic reasons to get your kids in the kitchen today, setting them up with skills that will serve them throughout their lives.
1 [if they made it, they’ll eat it]
anyone who’s ever experienced mealtime with a kid knows that their pickiness knows no bounds. one day they love grapefruit, the next day it may as well be sewer sludge. and getting them to eat their veggies or try something new?? it’s like pulling teeth. the good news: there’s a sneaky way ‘round this little nuisance. if you want to get your kids to try something, letting them help prepare it is the best way to trick them into thinking it was their idea to eat it. and when they get used to trying a wide variety of foods from a young age, they’ll be healthier + more adventurous eaters their whole lives.
2 [it teaches important life skills]
let’s face it - ya gotta eat. everyone needs to know how to cook - even if just for basic survival. but the teachable moments don’t end there. how about the implementation of all those fractions they’re learning in school (hello, measuring cups!)? or experiencing chemistry-in-action (that’s right - those puffin’ muffins are actually a science lesson!)? and the planning practice they’ll get by making a grocery list + mapping out a weekly meal plan?? priceless. with all those pros, need we even mention the confidence + self-sufficiency that will grow with each kitchen success?
3 [they're more likely to be healthy eaters]
studies have shown that people who most often cook at home not only typically eat healthier, they also end up consuming fewer calories, even when out to eat at a restaurant - and even if they’re not trying to lose weight. and who doesn’t want to give their kids a solid nutritional foundation from the very beginning?? what's more, one study found that kids who helped with cooking actually made healthier food choices by consuming more fruits + veggies. you get help in the kitchen AND they eat their veggies? score.
4 [quality time]
this is probably my favorite one. because while i am fortunate enough to work from home, and therefore am able to be here for my kids in the mornings at drop-off + the afternoons at the bus stop, between their homework + my work responsibilities, i often find that i’ve gotten no quality time with them come dinnertime. so when it’s time to shut it down for the day + get to work on cooking, i gather the boys in the kitchen, turn on some music, assign their jobs + just enjoy my time with them - no screens, no distractions. we dance, we sing, we laugh, we talk + we bask in the joy + pride of the meal we are creating together. it’s the absolute best part of my day.
ok, i know what you’re thinking. this all sounds well + good, but how do i implement this?? here’s what a typical weeknight meal-prep looks like in my house. the menu: a quick, soul-warming meatball soup + fresh side salad. my kitchen helpers: my three sons, jack, ford + luke. they absolutely love helping me in the kitchen, so when i called them in to enlist their help with this soup, they were beyond thrilled. their jobs:
his favorites are using cookie cutters, pressing tortillas + stirring batters.
his jobs today: rolling the meatballs + stirring the soup
he loves cracking eggs, peeling veggies + rinsing berries.
his jobs today: peeling the carrots, cracking the egg + assembling the salad
his top kitchen skills include chopping produce, making hot tea + flipping pancakes.
his jobs today: chopping the lettuce + tomatoes for our side salad + measuring the spices
[meatball soup] serves 4 - 6
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
8 cups chicken bone broth
pinch of sea salt
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
½ cup finely minced zucchini
½ cup grain-free bread crumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lavender sea salt
- heat the oil in a large pot + saute the carrots + onion for a few minutes, sprinkling with a pinch of sea salt. stir in the broth + bring to a boil.
- mix all the meatball ingredients + form into small balls - no more than 1” in diameter - then drop them into the boiling broth.
- let them boil for 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of your meatballs, until cooked through. season with extra sea salt if needed + serve with a side salad.
feeling inspired to get your kids in the kitchen?? check out this list for age-appropriate tasks for your little ones. see a job that’s not on the list that your kids love to tackle? share in the comments! need more kid-friendly meal or snack ideas? check these out!
want even more goal getting for your kiddos?? open to teachers + parents, we're giving away 25 fitbook juniors to four classrooms, so go enter anytime between 09.13 - 09.17.17! ENTER OUR GIVEAWAY