Monday, 23 March 2015

Stir It Up

It's pretty easy to get the minions excited about baking.  Weekly they ask me whose birthday is next to determine the source of their next fix of cupcakes or birthday cake.  Both kids line-up whenever I'm baking and readily want to help break eggs, dump measured cups of flour or sugar into a bowl or stir.  They are proud about what they make and I don't even mind picking out the egg shell shards before I hand over the big spoons for stirring. The only thing better than preparing the raw ingredients (with the exception of physically eating the cupcakes) is decorating them.  The kids will then proudly present the birthday girl or boy with their creations complete with their signature flurry of sprinkles (because sprinkles are for winners - Just ask Molly).

star wars cupcakes, It is your destiny cupcakes
May the 4th cupcakes circa 2013.

Lately Chris and I have been making an active effort to ensure that we all eat better.  This means more time at the grocer, more time in the kitchen preparing food, more meal planning and less time online ordering Swiss Chalet.  I love cooking and trying new recipes, but I also love the time that I get after work to play with the minions and I find myself resenting the time I'm chopping veggies when I could be playing lime ball (basically bowling in our hallway using limes to knock over highlighters).

As hesitant as I am to let the minions join in cooking for fear of chopping knives and hot pots, I really want to share my love of cooking and increase their appreciation for the food they eat.  Chris and I both have a vested interest in having them help so they can learn a practical skill and spend more time with us while we cook. Eventually they can take charge of preparing a meal or two a week when they get older.  I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help them get more involved and to motivate them in the kitchen that don't necessarily involve sprinkles and frosting.

toddler kitchen set
Someone's in the kitchen with Molly

5 Ways to Get Your Little Ones Involved In the Kitchen

  1. Get them involved from the planning stage.  Chris started encouraging the kids to suggest items as they crave them to mom and dad so we can make sure they get added to the grocery list/weekly fruit and veggies delivery.  For the most part choices are surprisingly healthy.
  2. Bring them grocery shopping and let them help put items in the cart and put them away when we get back home.  Monday's have become a highlight of Molly and Jack's week as they carry in and help put away our produce bin delivery.  We are routinely asked, "Is it basket day today?" because they find unveiling the contents of the basket so much fun.
  3. Family gardening.  Last year was the first year in almost a decade that we didn't have a vegetable garden and I really missed it (even though Chris has always done about 95% of the gardening work in the past).  This year I plan to get the minions involved in selecting, planting, tending and harvesting our garden alongside us. 
  4. Have them help with food preparation.  3-5 year olds can help with the following items: washing produce, mixing room temperature ingredients, tearing lettuce, squashing or mashing of ingredients, using measuring spoons to help fill and pour or if you're feeling particularly brave cutting soft ingredients with a plastic knife.
  5. Use your imagination and make meals fun and memorable.  Both of my kids love playing and making pretend food for us and their friends.  Bring this to the next level with picnics or even something as simple as a meal where you eat your food under the table.

How do you get your kids excited about cooking and healthy food?

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  1. I wrote a story about this very thing last fall! :)

    1. Love it! They are such great eaters..but i think this will help even more. I also tend to forget how capable they are, this sort of thing is a great reminder. Any tips on produce we can start inside and move outside?