With childhood obesity on the rise, it’s more important than ever to get your kids more involved in meal prep and cooking. Even though your days may be super busy, there’s always time to sneak in a few homemade meals throughout the week. It may only happen on the weekends, or twice a week, but any way to increase the time your kids are in the kitchen will be good.
With today’s hectic schedules, it may seem impossible to bring everyone together for a meal, let alone prepping and cooking it all together. But even making a 30-minute meal together can help instill a good, nutritious understanding of the food your kids are eating. No matter what their age, there’s always something they can do in the kitchen to help you along while learning good skills. It’s far too easy to order in meals or have easy-to-prepare quick meals with little prep time. Having a meal take longer but spending more time with your kids in the process makes the time well spent.
Getting Them Involved
It’s also a great time to talk to your kids about caloric intake, decreasing sugar and salt and other healthy eating habits. If your children are older, you can even discuss more serious matters like eating disorders to help your children establish good boundaries and relationships around food. Whether you want to talk to them about food or not, it’s always a good bonding experience while cooking. You can also talk about their school day or extra activities or friends during this time, especially if your child is having a harder time opening up. Your children may also not realize how much fun it is to cook, and suddenly find a new passion in the kitchen! They can help you grocery shop and pick a weekly recipe to try as well, helping them to feel more involved in the decisions and preparations. Even just prepping some snacks and easy-assembly meals for themselves (if they are old enough) for when they’re home alone or needing a bite to eat can help set them up for success as adults.
At the end of the day, if your kids don’t enjoy it, don’t force it on them either. There are plenty of other activities you can all enjoy together. It’s still important to talk to them about proper nutrition and making healthy choices, but it doesn’t have to involve working in the kitchen, either. Either way, you’ll be teaching your kids the right and wrong choices when it comes to food while also enjoying much needed time together.
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