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5 Things Friday: 5 Ways to Bring Your Kids Into the Meal-Making Process

If we were left out of the meal-making process as kids, we’re in a position to break this cycle and bring our kids into the kitchen. Involving our children in the meal-making process is a beautiful way to connect with our family physically, mentally & emotionally. As our Yes Collective Registered Dietician Lexi Hall says:

Cooking with children is an essential first step in building the foundation for a healthy relationship with food. It allows an opportunity to explore and learn while instilling a sense of self-efficacy and ownership over healthy food choices. Studies show that kids who cook and eat in a family unit have greater confidence and report more satisfying social experiences, further improving health outcomes.

In other words, cooking together builds knowledge, confidence, and enthusiasm around healthy eating habits.

Many of us were left out of the family meal-making process as kids, so we love the thought of breaking that generational cycle and cooking with our own children. But some of us might find it daunting to think about bringing our kids into the kitchen with us. You’re not alone if you’re thinking, “Where do I even start?!”

The key, Lexi reminds us, is to start where we're comfortable. We’ve collected a list of some fun ideas to involve your children in the kitchen. As with all changes at home, start slow, take your time, and make adjustments to meet the needs of your family.

Idea #1: Involve your child in the ingredient-shopping process

Whether it’s the grocery store, farmer’s market, or a local you-pick farm outing, involving your child from the very beginning of the cooking process while procuring ingredients gives them a sense of ownership and makes them more inclined to try new foods.

And one fun technique to expand a child’s food horizons is to create a “color theme” for a shopping trip. For example, make it a “red day” and encourage your child to hunt for red ingredients throughout the produce section. Maybe even wear red that day and make a fun activity out of it! Keeping things light-hearted and interactive alleviates the pressure on both parents and kids.

Idea #2: Cookbooks are for kids!

Encourage your kids to read through cookbooks to find the recipes they want to make and eat, and create a shopping list from that. This is a great way to empower kids while encouraging them to try new foods - especially when you use cookbooks that are illustrated with full-color photographs so they can “window shop” for foods that look delicious to them.

Idea #3: Get hands-on!

Bring your children into the hands-on cooking process in the following kid- and parent-friendly ways:

Idea #4: Clean up!

Just being in the kitchen environment allows your child to absorb the knowledge that’s shared during the cooking process. So, if cooking doesn’t pique your kid’s interest, then try involving them in the cleaning process – this can be the cleaning of produce during prep before cooking begins, and/or the washing-up of kid-friendly plates, bowls, utensils and other kid-safe kitchen items after a meal. And to make things easier and more accessible for your little one, many parents swear by safety stools with rails like this one - it’s a bit of an investment, but gives parents some peace of mind and can be used with your child for several years as they grow.

Idea #5: Family-friendly cooking classes

Or if cooking at home just isn’t your thing, then another way to connect with your kids over meal-making is by taking kid-friendly cooking classes together through a local community center and/or through private organizations such as Culinary Kids in Orange County, California.

Breaking cycles can be fun and nourishing. We’d love to hear how bringing kids into the kitchen goes for you!Breaking generational cycles doesn’t always have to involve deep inner work. Sometimes it’s as fun and simple as involving your kids in things that you were left out of when you were kid. The meal-making process, for many of us, is one of those things. Maybe our parents thought it was just easier if we weren’t in the kitchen messing things up. Or maybe dinner growing up didn’t involve a lot of culinary work, so there wasn’t much to do.

5 Things Friday: 5 Ways to Bring Your Kids Into the Meal-Making Process

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5 Things Friday: 5 Ways to Bring Your Kids Into the Meal-Making Process

Breaking generational cycles doesn’t always have to involve deep inner work. Sometimes it’s as fun and simple as involving your kids in things that you were left out of when you were kid.

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Key takeaways

1

Many of us were left out of the family meal-making process as kids

2

As parents, we can include our kids in ways that build responsibility, nutritional knowledge, and our relationships!

3

In this article, our expert Embody team offers five strategies for bringing your kids into each step of the meal process

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If we were left out of the meal-making process as kids, we’re in a position to break this cycle and bring our kids into the kitchen. Involving our children in the meal-making process is a beautiful way to connect with our family physically, mentally & emotionally. As our Yes Collective Registered Dietician Lexi Hall says:

Cooking with children is an essential first step in building the foundation for a healthy relationship with food. It allows an opportunity to explore and learn while instilling a sense of self-efficacy and ownership over healthy food choices. Studies show that kids who cook and eat in a family unit have greater confidence and report more satisfying social experiences, further improving health outcomes.

In other words, cooking together builds knowledge, confidence, and enthusiasm around healthy eating habits.

Many of us were left out of the family meal-making process as kids, so we love the thought of breaking that generational cycle and cooking with our own children. But some of us might find it daunting to think about bringing our kids into the kitchen with us. You’re not alone if you’re thinking, “Where do I even start?!”

The key, Lexi reminds us, is to start where we're comfortable. We’ve collected a list of some fun ideas to involve your children in the kitchen. As with all changes at home, start slow, take your time, and make adjustments to meet the needs of your family.

Idea #1: Involve your child in the ingredient-shopping process

Whether it’s the grocery store, farmer’s market, or a local you-pick farm outing, involving your child from the very beginning of the cooking process while procuring ingredients gives them a sense of ownership and makes them more inclined to try new foods.

And one fun technique to expand a child’s food horizons is to create a “color theme” for a shopping trip. For example, make it a “red day” and encourage your child to hunt for red ingredients throughout the produce section. Maybe even wear red that day and make a fun activity out of it! Keeping things light-hearted and interactive alleviates the pressure on both parents and kids.

Idea #2: Cookbooks are for kids!

Encourage your kids to read through cookbooks to find the recipes they want to make and eat, and create a shopping list from that. This is a great way to empower kids while encouraging them to try new foods - especially when you use cookbooks that are illustrated with full-color photographs so they can “window shop” for foods that look delicious to them.

Idea #3: Get hands-on!

Bring your children into the hands-on cooking process in the following kid- and parent-friendly ways:

Idea #4: Clean up!

Just being in the kitchen environment allows your child to absorb the knowledge that’s shared during the cooking process. So, if cooking doesn’t pique your kid’s interest, then try involving them in the cleaning process – this can be the cleaning of produce during prep before cooking begins, and/or the washing-up of kid-friendly plates, bowls, utensils and other kid-safe kitchen items after a meal. And to make things easier and more accessible for your little one, many parents swear by safety stools with rails like this one - it’s a bit of an investment, but gives parents some peace of mind and can be used with your child for several years as they grow.

Idea #5: Family-friendly cooking classes

Or if cooking at home just isn’t your thing, then another way to connect with your kids over meal-making is by taking kid-friendly cooking classes together through a local community center and/or through private organizations such as Culinary Kids in Orange County, California.

Breaking cycles can be fun and nourishing. We’d love to hear how bringing kids into the kitchen goes for you!Breaking generational cycles doesn’t always have to involve deep inner work. Sometimes it’s as fun and simple as involving your kids in things that you were left out of when you were kid. The meal-making process, for many of us, is one of those things. Maybe our parents thought it was just easier if we weren’t in the kitchen messing things up. Or maybe dinner growing up didn’t involve a lot of culinary work, so there wasn’t much to do.

If we were left out of the meal-making process as kids, we’re in a position to break this cycle and bring our kids into the kitchen. Involving our children in the meal-making process is a beautiful way to connect with our family physically, mentally & emotionally. As our Yes Collective Registered Dietician Lexi Hall says:

Cooking with children is an essential first step in building the foundation for a healthy relationship with food. It allows an opportunity to explore and learn while instilling a sense of self-efficacy and ownership over healthy food choices. Studies show that kids who cook and eat in a family unit have greater confidence and report more satisfying social experiences, further improving health outcomes.

In other words, cooking together builds knowledge, confidence, and enthusiasm around healthy eating habits.

Many of us were left out of the family meal-making process as kids, so we love the thought of breaking that generational cycle and cooking with our own children. But some of us might find it daunting to think about bringing our kids into the kitchen with us. You’re not alone if you’re thinking, “Where do I even start?!”

The key, Lexi reminds us, is to start where we're comfortable. We’ve collected a list of some fun ideas to involve your children in the kitchen. As with all changes at home, start slow, take your time, and make adjustments to meet the needs of your family.

Idea #1: Involve your child in the ingredient-shopping process

Whether it’s the grocery store, farmer’s market, or a local you-pick farm outing, involving your child from the very beginning of the cooking process while procuring ingredients gives them a sense of ownership and makes them more inclined to try new foods.

And one fun technique to expand a child’s food horizons is to create a “color theme” for a shopping trip. For example, make it a “red day” and encourage your child to hunt for red ingredients throughout the produce section. Maybe even wear red that day and make a fun activity out of it! Keeping things light-hearted and interactive alleviates the pressure on both parents and kids.

Idea #2: Cookbooks are for kids!

Encourage your kids to read through cookbooks to find the recipes they want to make and eat, and create a shopping list from that. This is a great way to empower kids while encouraging them to try new foods - especially when you use cookbooks that are illustrated with full-color photographs so they can “window shop” for foods that look delicious to them.

Idea #3: Get hands-on!

Bring your children into the hands-on cooking process in the following kid- and parent-friendly ways:

Idea #4: Clean up!

Just being in the kitchen environment allows your child to absorb the knowledge that’s shared during the cooking process. So, if cooking doesn’t pique your kid’s interest, then try involving them in the cleaning process – this can be the cleaning of produce during prep before cooking begins, and/or the washing-up of kid-friendly plates, bowls, utensils and other kid-safe kitchen items after a meal. And to make things easier and more accessible for your little one, many parents swear by safety stools with rails like this one - it’s a bit of an investment, but gives parents some peace of mind and can be used with your child for several years as they grow.

Idea #5: Family-friendly cooking classes

Or if cooking at home just isn’t your thing, then another way to connect with your kids over meal-making is by taking kid-friendly cooking classes together through a local community center and/or through private organizations such as Culinary Kids in Orange County, California.

Breaking cycles can be fun and nourishing. We’d love to hear how bringing kids into the kitchen goes for you!Breaking generational cycles doesn’t always have to involve deep inner work. Sometimes it’s as fun and simple as involving your kids in things that you were left out of when you were kid. The meal-making process, for many of us, is one of those things. Maybe our parents thought it was just easier if we weren’t in the kitchen messing things up. Or maybe dinner growing up didn’t involve a lot of culinary work, so there wasn’t much to do.

If we were left out of the meal-making process as kids, we’re in a position to break this cycle and bring our kids into the kitchen. Involving our children in the meal-making process is a beautiful way to connect with our family physically, mentally & emotionally. As our Yes Collective Registered Dietician Lexi Hall says:

Cooking with children is an essential first step in building the foundation for a healthy relationship with food. It allows an opportunity to explore and learn while instilling a sense of self-efficacy and ownership over healthy food choices. Studies show that kids who cook and eat in a family unit have greater confidence and report more satisfying social experiences, further improving health outcomes.

In other words, cooking together builds knowledge, confidence, and enthusiasm around healthy eating habits.

Many of us were left out of the family meal-making process as kids, so we love the thought of breaking that generational cycle and cooking with our own children. But some of us might find it daunting to think about bringing our kids into the kitchen with us. You’re not alone if you’re thinking, “Where do I even start?!”

The key, Lexi reminds us, is to start where we're comfortable. We’ve collected a list of some fun ideas to involve your children in the kitchen. As with all changes at home, start slow, take your time, and make adjustments to meet the needs of your family.

Idea #1: Involve your child in the ingredient-shopping process

Whether it’s the grocery store, farmer’s market, or a local you-pick farm outing, involving your child from the very beginning of the cooking process while procuring ingredients gives them a sense of ownership and makes them more inclined to try new foods.

And one fun technique to expand a child’s food horizons is to create a “color theme” for a shopping trip. For example, make it a “red day” and encourage your child to hunt for red ingredients throughout the produce section. Maybe even wear red that day and make a fun activity out of it! Keeping things light-hearted and interactive alleviates the pressure on both parents and kids.

Idea #2: Cookbooks are for kids!

Encourage your kids to read through cookbooks to find the recipes they want to make and eat, and create a shopping list from that. This is a great way to empower kids while encouraging them to try new foods - especially when you use cookbooks that are illustrated with full-color photographs so they can “window shop” for foods that look delicious to them.

Idea #3: Get hands-on!

Bring your children into the hands-on cooking process in the following kid- and parent-friendly ways:

Idea #4: Clean up!

Just being in the kitchen environment allows your child to absorb the knowledge that’s shared during the cooking process. So, if cooking doesn’t pique your kid’s interest, then try involving them in the cleaning process – this can be the cleaning of produce during prep before cooking begins, and/or the washing-up of kid-friendly plates, bowls, utensils and other kid-safe kitchen items after a meal. And to make things easier and more accessible for your little one, many parents swear by safety stools with rails like this one - it’s a bit of an investment, but gives parents some peace of mind and can be used with your child for several years as they grow.

Idea #5: Family-friendly cooking classes

Or if cooking at home just isn’t your thing, then another way to connect with your kids over meal-making is by taking kid-friendly cooking classes together through a local community center and/or through private organizations such as Culinary Kids in Orange County, California.

Breaking cycles can be fun and nourishing. We’d love to hear how bringing kids into the kitchen goes for you!Breaking generational cycles doesn’t always have to involve deep inner work. Sometimes it’s as fun and simple as involving your kids in things that you were left out of when you were kid. The meal-making process, for many of us, is one of those things. Maybe our parents thought it was just easier if we weren’t in the kitchen messing things up. Or maybe dinner growing up didn’t involve a lot of culinary work, so there wasn’t much to do.

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