Monday, January 30, 2012

Tips for Cooking Healthy Meals with Kids

Cooking in my home is family activity.  My husband and I both like to cook and we are trying to pass along the joy of cooking to our children.  When we are in the kitchen preparing a meal, normally the whole family is in there.  A family that cooks together stays together!

Including my children when cooking is a great way to spend quality time as a family.  It is a great way for kids to learn numbers, names of kitchen utensils and gadgets, and to see the finished product when they help. Here is a few tips I use to cook healthy meals with kids.

- Variety - I always try to cook a variety of foods.  This way my kids will like more kinds of foods. Having something different each week gives them something to look forward to.

- Choices - I often give my 5 year old daughter a few choices of items to choose from to cook. Giving her the chance to decide encourages her at meal time to eat. 

- Kids Help - My daughter loves to help cook.  She enjoys breaking eggs, mixing, spreading butter, and even washing dishes.  When baking, I measure everything for her and she does the mixing.  She loves to be able to tell everyone that she made this.

- Cook Food Different Ways - Sweet potatoes is a hit in my house.  My kids love them.  Sometimes I bake them and other times I mash or make chips.  I like to show them that you can prepare one food many ways.

- Gardening - Each summer we plant a small garden of vegetables that my kids love. They enjoy the garden process of planting, watering, watching them grow and picking.  Picking the vegetables is very exciting for them and they can't for dinner so we can eat their vegetables. 

- Try New Things - I encourage my children to try new things. Don't look at something and say you don't like that.  You have to try it and see.  Most of the time, they do like it and if they don't, that's fine, they don't have to eat it.

- Cook with Rice - We do like to cook with rice.  Our favorite way to serve rice is with chicken or shrimp stir-fry.  A healthy, well balanced meals that everyone loves.

Cooking is great activity to do as a family.  We try to cook together as often as possible.  My children love to cook.  My daughter got an Easy Bake Oven for her birthday and we have used it often.  I hope that her love of cooking will continue and it will be something that she too can share with others.

To empower and encourage parents to connect with their kids, one meal at a time, Uncle Ben’s has launched an exciting national contest called Ben’s Beginners! By entering the contest, you could win $20,000, along with a $50,000 grant towards a cafeteria makeover for your child’s school . In addition, you will have a chance to appear on The Rachael Ray show! Uncle Ben’s is calling for parents with children ages 5-12 to submit a 2-3 minute video of you cooking a rice-based dish with your children. For more info on the contest, please check out Ben’s Beginners on Facebook!

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Disclaimer:  “I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Uncle Ben’s blogging program, for 8,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

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