Knife Skills for Toddlers

My kids have been in the kitchen with me from the moment they were old enough to stand, unsupported, on a chair. By nature toddlers want to be where there parents are, so if Mama is in the kitchen, the kids usually are as well.

We only baked together at first. I walked through our steps, having them help tip things into the bowl or even stir. And yes, I let them have some chocolate chips.

Soon enough, though, they wanted to be with me while I ran the race of getting dinner on the table. It wasn’t always easy, and I’ll admit, there were times when Tony Hawk videos on You Tube or that horrible purple dinosaur were brought into play just so I could get the meat cut without fear of little hands getting into everything.

Generally, though, I would rather take longer to get dinner on the table if it means having time with my girls, especially since I’m in the office all day. So instead of waiting until I had a six or seven year old – an age many other moms told me were appropriate for cooking – I set out to teach my toddler some kitchen safety and a few kitchen basics beyond dump and stir.

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Encourage Kids to Cook By Hosting a Cooking-Themed Birthday Party

There has been much discussion recently on the importance of teaching children to cook and instilling an interest in healthier food. In his acceptance speech, TED prize winner and renowned chef, Jamie Oliver had one wish: Teach every child about food. I agree with Jamie that children can help get families cooking again, and am excited to bring you today’s post in support of kids in the kitchen.

Does your child have a birthday approaching? This year, why not skip the Disney themes and host a cooking party instead? Children can learn how to bake from scratch, toss pizza dough and decorate cupcakes –all in a playful atmosphere of fun!

What better way to foster a love of the cooking? Extra bonus points for those who can squeeze in a garden tour as well… [Read more…]

Snacking and Your Child: Finding the Healthy Balance

In our home, our children, ages 2 and 4, are not big eaters and daily snacks play an important role in providing them with the nourishment they need. Like all young children, they have a limited stomach capacity and often their caloric requirements are not met with the standard three meals a day.

Smart snacking can help meet these nutritional needs. Unfortunately, if snacking happens too often it can prevent my children from developing an appetite. Similarly, if they are snacking on empty calories, then an opportunity to provide nourishment is wasted.

This is why balance and keen observation is so important for snack time.

I’ve learned it is important to control what is offered as snacks and well as when and how they are handed out. A consistent snack routine, as opposed to grazing or sporadic binging, is an important solution to resolving harmful food habits- both in children and adults! [Read more…]

Balanced Meals for Kids: Not Until You Eat Your Vegetables

A balanced diet is important for everyone when it comes to your personal health, but it can be doubly important in children. What your child is eating now is laying the foundation for later in life, and your behavior and attitude about food is making an impression on them every time you sit down at the dinner table.

Beyond offering up balanced meals and healthy options at mealtime, sometimes it can be difficult to get your child to actually eat them. Sure, you may be serving them up, but if they’re discarding or eating just a bite or two of their vegetables every meal in favor of the beef stroganoff or the turkey and cheese sandwich, their diet is still lacking.

If your kids are anything like mine, threatening them with the old “you can’t do that until you eat your vegetables” is only going to make them more stubborn about not eating their vegetables. Below I share what I’ve found works best in making sure that my kids are getting nutrition from all areas of the food pyramid and in the right amounts. [Read more…]

How To Help Your Child Embrace Food

As my kids get older I am starting to believe that fussy eaters are partially made, not born. There is an element of kid personality in there – stubborn, adventurous, fearful, curious – but there is also what we, as parents do that contribute to picky eating.

This isn’t about blame or any kind of accusation. But so many of us resort to negotiation, substitutions, and even resignation all in the name of ensuring our kids eat a meal. What’s important is that we care that our kids are eating and we care what they eat.

I believe that if we make an issue out of things, it becomes an issue. So if your kid won’t eat vegetables and you are constantly haranguing them to eat their peas, then they will grow up fighting you on them. But if you encourage them to try new things and trust that they won’t starve themselves, everyone will be happier.

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