Getting Kids Into The Kitchen.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Posted by Shah cooks

Now that the holiday season is over, how many of you sighed in relief as the last cookie disappeared? Wished your kids ate all the yummy stuff you made? How to get the kids to eat healthy and help at home? Good habits also begins at home. Kids are like sponges; they absorb all the nuances and eccentricities of the family around them. Of course, you do have a lot of kids who are absolutely disconnected from the world of food and nothing can entice them into foodie rhapsodies.
But for the majority, how did mac n cheese and chicken nuggets become the food of choice?

Before reading further, let me warn that these are not fool proof tips and are just things that work with my son. Each one of you knows your kid the best, so adapt these suggestions to their likes and dislikes.

Involve the kids in the kitchen. If you let them help around (and make a mess) in the kitchen, chances are they will be curious about what they are eating and will pretty soon have suggestions too.

If they are between 5-7, let them do anything that doesn’t involve the fire and the knife. They can start with salads…tear salad leaves, wash tomatoes, peel carrots, cucumbers and even mix dressing after you have poured everything into a bottle.

They should touch, feel, smell and taste the different foods with its variations. If you are stuck shopping with them, ask for their help to read out the grocery lists and to find the items. It is a game that keeps them occupied as they scan through the multitude of products. Just take care they don’t pull things out of the line and collapse the display.

Other than the fun while cooking, it imbibes a sense of responsibility in the kids. It is the onset of getting them involved in the multitude of chores in a family.

My son is my official peeler and brownie mixer. He reads the instructions and takes out the milk, number of eggs needed and I pour all the ingredients into the mixing bowl. He slowly combines it and when its gets sticky, I take over. If there is some music while we mix, we dance too! It is a team effort and later when we sit down after endless peeping at the oven, with a fresh warm slice of brownie, the feeling of companionship is priceless. Why relegate family cooking to just cookies at the holidays?

We have only one rule in the kitchen. Whatever you help to make, you have to eat it or at least taste it even if it looks funny. Green Eggs and Ham, We say! Green Eggs and Ham was first published in 1960. I love the underlying premise of the story...The plot revolves around Sam-I-am's efforts to get his friend to try "green eggs and ham".

......You may like them.
You will see.
You may like them
in a tree?

Not in a tree.
I would not, could not in a tree.
Not in a car! You let me be.

I do not like them in a box.
I do not like them with a fox
I do not like them in a house......

Of course by the end of the poem, Sam-I-am had made his friend try the green eggs and ham. Don't you wish all our kids would try new stuff without hesitation?
So the next time you are getting dinner ready, request their involvement and suggestions. It takes time and the change would not happen in a day so have patience.

This Post was written by Shaheen from Malabar Spices.


What a wonderful post Shaheen. It is a great benefit to involve the kids into the daily kitchen life. I have friends whose kids seem to be so disconnected with what goes on in the kitchen and are exactly the same way when it comes to eating the food that is served. Soeren and I enjoy our kitchen routine. He lays the table, empties the cutlery section of the dishwasher and baking is a passion.

I find that such valuable lessons bring so much more character into a child's personality.

Thank you Shaheen.

Meeta said...
January 13, 2007 at 2:06:00 PM GMT+1  

I know Meeta. I can identify myself with you so much as I read abt u and soren.Cooking is fun and should involve kids.

Anonymous said...
January 13, 2007 at 5:15:00 PM GMT+1  

Shaheen - you are right that modern children are in many cases disconnected from the kitchen. But even worse - so are their parents so what hope for the kids?
I will employ some of your tips with my children. My seven year old son and I are attempting to overcome a veg-phobia ( his, not mine!) by munching our way through the A to Z of vegetables and trying out recipes by parents and kids across the world. We are blogging our efforts and would love you to visit.
I love the collaboration of your blog - its about bringing people together and sharing ideas - comparing approaches. Great read.

January 25, 2007 at 3:54:00 PM GMT+1  

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