There’s no denying that toddlers have a remarkable capacity for building new skills. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they’re picking up the habits that will most help them succeed in life and health in the future. Though children’s minds are like sponges, that doesn’t mean that we want them to mop up any old habits.
It turns out that early experiences in the kitchen and the home can have long-lasting effects. Children who develop healthy habits in the kitchen before the age of five, like preparing meals from scratch, have a lower chance of getting obese and suffering from type 2 diabetes when they get older.
The question for parents is how to get their kids more interested in the kitchen. Take a look at some of these ideas.
Get Them To Wash Fruits And Veggies
Although it might seem strange, the majority of children can’t actually identify many of the vegetables they eat, thanks partly to the fact that they’re not exposed to them in their whole, raw form. Getting kids to wash fruits and veggies not only teaches them something about preparing food but also teaches them about the food itself, something that they can become easily detached from.
Decorate The Kitchen Kids-Style
Kitchen renovations by Mayfield Renovations aim to do more than just create somewhere where people prepare meals. They want kitchens to be a place where all the family can meet and get together. Sometimes that means creating spaces that kids will actually love and enjoy.
What does that mean in practice? For starters, it means bringing entertainment into the kitchen itself. There should be places for children to read, listen to audiobooks and watch documentaries. But it also means creating an environment which partially caters to the needs of children. Chalk boards on the kitchen wall, for instance, can be a great, child-friendly feature.
The Shape Of The Food Matters More Than The Flavor
Getting kids to eat their greens is a challenge that parents have faced for generations. The transition from sweet mother’s milk to whole foods can be a demanding one. What’s more, with all the sugar and junk in kids’ diets, the process is made even more challenging, and many people never make it.
With that said, scientists are finding ways to fight back, and it all starts in the kitchen. According to research, simply cutting food into shapes that kids like, such as stars or rocket ships, can make a big difference to how it tastes. Children given plates of food with veggies cut into shapes they know and recognize eat more than those with just chopped or shredded vegetables.
What’s more, your toddler can get involved in this process. You don’t need to give them a sharp knife. A simple cookie cutter will do for soft fruits and veggies, like watermelon.
Get Them Sprinkling
Even though it rarely makes a big difference to the final product, sprinkling is always the icing on the cake - often literally. Give your child some bowls with sprinkling ingredients and get them to come up with their own creations for ice cream, cakes, curries, or whatever else you happen to be whipping up.