Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cooking Healthy Meals with the kids #BensBeginners

I LOVE my little ladies in the kitchen with me. It is so fun to cook up good memories with my girls. 
I love being in my kitchen! So much that it is known as Susie's Cafe and I keep our family menu on the wall. The photo of "Please Stay Out Of Mom's Kitchen" is on my fridge but it is far from the truth. I LOVE my little ladies in the kitchen with me. It is so fun to cook up good memories with my girls. 
Over the years, I have learned some helpful tips to get the kids involved in the kitchen. This involvement has helped them develop healthy cooking habits. 

  • Get your toddlers their own pots, pans & kitchen tools and have a spot for them in the kitchen. This will give them a chance to feel like they belong early on. 

  • Purchase kid cookbooks. These are great for your little ones to look through. Let them pick a recipe for you to cook together. Do this once a week. If you have more than one child, make a schedule and give them a special day to help. One of our favorite cookbooks for kids is the Gooseberry Patch Kids in the Kitchen cookbook. 


  • Give the kids a few ingredients and let them just play with them. Work up to actually giving them a chance to create something on their own. This is how we have created several kid friendly, healthy recipes. You can get special knives for the kids so that they can actually cut their ingredients. Early in their toddler years, I always gave them a plastic knife to cut soft fruits and vegetables. Don't just give them the knife, teach them early how to hold it and what it is used for. 

  • Make meal time active time! Don't let your kids think that they can just show up, get in line, grab food and leave. I just can't say this enough that you need to have them working with you! At first it might be a hassle but if you make it a regular routine it becomes fun and helpful. 


  • When you need to go to the store, take the kids. Make it a healthy trip! They can build muscle mass lifting, stooping, bending and reaching for food items! Go to the self check out lane so they can work on their fine motor movements and pick up each item to scan and bag! Let them lift all the bags into the cart and load into the car! This is a great time for them to look for people to help in the parking lot. Little old ladies love help loading groceries into their car! This will provide a bonus workout!
  • Get them involved with the weekly menu planning! Go to the library (walk to get in their step goals) and find books on healthy foods. The library is also a great place to work on muscle fitness! Those books can be heavy!
  • Create new recipes. One of our favorite things to do is have a "Make Your Own......" something or other. Make your own pizza, Make your own rice, Make your own omelet, Make your own Potatoes, etc. What does this mean? 
For example, make a pot of rice. Then in small containers, put in different healthy toppings. Let your kids make their own meal by letting them choose which ingredients they want on their rice. It works like a charm and before you know it they will be eating all sorts of ingredients that are super healthy for them. 
  • Do you have tips to share? Feel free to list them below. I'm always looking for new ideas. Remember that the key to cooking healthy meals is to get the kiddos involved! Don't have the motto: Please Stay Out of Mom's Kitchen. Get them involved so that they develop healthy eating habits early on.
Have you and your kiddos created a fun recipe? If so make a video! Did you know that Uncle Ben's has a contest going on right now? It is called Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest. Deadline is 2/26/2012. If you don't have any recipe to share, read all about the cooking contest. They give you easy to follow steps to enter this contest. Good luck!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Uncle Ben’s blogging program, for 6,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

3 comments:

Chelsea @ Naturally Sweet Recipes said...

Love this! I love all those pictures with the kids helping out and being involved. Great tips. My only other tip is being patient- which may not be a big tip but does help whenever you are in the kitchen! Especially working kids and trying to make healthier meals.

Vicky said...

It's so important to cook with the kids. Great job! Love the idea of making meal time active time. I am a new Pinterest follower visiting from Milk and Cuddles. Vicky from Mess For Less

jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa said...

I'm also teaching my children how to cook. They love cooking and it teaches them how to eat healthy.

Today, I actually posted a FREE printable recipe guide for children with step by step directions and photos for making Pancakes.

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