By Britt Richardson,
CSA member since 2016. With a degree in Dietetics, Nutrition and Food Science.*
Kids are naturally curious about even the simplest everyday activities you do, like cooking. Inviting kids to participate in the kitchen is a great way to get them excited about new foods by helping you prepare them. Start small to help them be successful. Here are a few ways to get your toddler or preschooler excited about food through cooking:
First wash hands. Washing hands in soapy water for at least 20 seconds is the best way to start any cooking session, no matter what age you are. Sing songs while you make lots of sudsy bubbles to get the fun started.
Washing foods. Place a small, sturdy stool or chair in front of the sink, fill a large bowl or salad spinner with water, and show your child how to swish the lettuce leaves. This can be a fun, splashy experience, so keep a towel and mop handy!
Cutting soft foods. Seat children at the table with a cutting board and a plastic picnic knife. Give them a soft fruit or vegetable to cut. For example, a banana, strawberries, mushrooms or a soft pear is a great way to start. Sit with them and show how to cut the food. Or, ask an older child to help their sibling.
Veggie prep. Young children can wash vegetables, help tear lettuce leaves for salads, pick herbs off the stems, scrub carrots or potatoes, set the kitchen timer (or tell Siri to set a timer), and pour or dump ingredients into your prep bowls.
Making funny faces. Ask your preschooler to help make “funny face” snack plates for the family. Give them an assortment of veggies such as bell pepper slices, radish or carrot sticks, small lettuce leaves, tomato slices, and peas. Show them ways to arrange the veggies on a plate to make a face. Ask them to make their own funny faces for the rest of the plates.
Enjoy with your favorite dips.Always follow food safety basics. Wash your child’s hands before touching food and whenever they get messy.
Keep breakables and sharp knives out of reach. Avoid working with foods that can be a choking hazard for little ones, like carrot coins and whole grapes.
Ananda at age 4 enjoying one of her favorite foods of late spring: Cucumbers!
*Britt Richardson is an Ananda Gardens CSA Member since 2016. She has a degree in Dietetics, Nutrition and Food Science. Britt has been working with clients to improve their health for 19 years. She is passionate about body positivity and delicious food from local farms, like us, and is currently completing her dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. You can contact her at email@example.com (her website is currently under development).