By Diana K. Rice, The Kids Cook Monday staff dietitian
One of the most important reasons to teach your kids to cook is to expose them to great nutrition, which will set them up to make healthy choices later in life. But as children and adults alike know, the second something is labeled as “healthy” is often the second it starts to lose its appeal.
Conversation in the kitchen is an essential part of parent-child bonding and learning to cook, but talking about the health value of foods with young children can be a tricky situation. Beyond not wanting to scare children away from healthful foods, young kids also simply lack comprehension of what health really means.
Depending on your child’s age, you may want to take one of two approaches. With very young kids, skip the health talk altogether and instead focus on what different foods look, smell, taste and even sound like. Conversations such as these will help children to enjoy healthy foods before ever understanding what makes them so healthy. Later on, with elementary-aged kids, associate different foods with the nutrients they need to grow big and strong. Red and orange vegetables are packed with vitamin A, which is important for their eyes; foods with protein are necessary to grow big, strong muscles, etc. Before you know it, they’ll be asking to cook the foods they need to become a healthy adult like you!
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