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Cooking healthy meals with kids is one of the ways that you can encourage children to make healthier eating choices. Kids learn what they observe so if you include them in the meal preparation, they are more likely to be able to prepare healthy meals themselves. When my husband was first on his own, he survived on frozen pizzas and fast food because he had absolutely no idea how to prepare meals let alone healthy meals. I wanted to be certain that my kids didn’t have that problem when they moved out on their own.
From an early age you can incorporate cooking healthy meals with kids into your daily routine. Even a toddler can tear apart lettuce for a salad or rinse fresh fruit under cool, running water. Older children can begin to snap green beans or measure out flour and sugar into a mixing bowl. You can teach your children about the food groups as they’re helping you in the kitchen. Help them understand that protein builds muscles and sugar gives you energy. Once you feel your child is old enough, let them help you cut up vegetables and fruits for dinner and carefully help you near the stove when you make simple meals.
To encourage healthy meals, make them visually appealing. Try to make the protein, starch and veggies different colors instead of all the same color. An example would be a hamburger, rice and broccoli instead of chicken, potatoes and cauliflower. If you have a picky eater, try making the veggies fun and interesting. You can let them cut up broccoli trees, pepper smiles, or make ants on a log. Let them make a healthy dip from low fat ranch dressing and a little lemon juice and then give them a pile of carrot sticks, celery sticks and pepper wedges to arrange on a plate. They’ll enjoy being able to dunk them into the dip.
If you’re interested in learning more about cooking healthy meals with kids, I encourage you to take a look at the Ben’s Beginnings contest held by Uncle Ben’s. It’s an effort by Uncle Ben’s to encourage families to get in the kitchen to cook and eat together to connect, one meal at a time. Studies show that when you being your meal with rice, you end up with a healthier meal. In the Ben’s Beginnings contest, you could win $20,000, along with a $50,000 grant towards a cafeteria makeover for your child’s school. There is also a chance to appear on The Rachel Ray Show! If you’re a parent with a child that is aged 5 to 12, Uncle Ben’s would like you to submit a 2 to 3 minute video of you preparing a rice based dish with your children. If you’re interested in cooking healthy meals with kids and you would like a chance to win this amazing prize, get out your video camera and start filming today!
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.
Ellen is a busy mom of a 22-year-old son and 27-year-old daughter. She owns 5 blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat.