(Our favorite tools for getting kids cooking: 1. The Silver Spoon for Children 2. Jamie Oliver baking tin 3. Kai’s “My First Knife” 4. CM cooking school 5. Fanny at Chez Panisse 6. IKEA mini-kitchen 7. IKEA baking cups 8.William Sonoma step ladder)
Today we’re giving you a foodie twofer here on D Moms Daily. First up, a few tips and tricks to get your kiddos excited about cooking and eating good food (or at least help ease them into something besides buttered noodles) that I shared in a segment on Texas Living last week with Kimberly Whitman. And later today, our green living guru Holly Davis will be here taking all things local food. She’ll also share a yummy (healthy) recipe for you to whip up at home.
Here are some of the strategies that I’ve used with my own girlies in an attempt to help turn them into pint-sized fodies. And, based on the fact that my five year old recently declared asparagus her favorite food, I think they might actually be working.
Tactic One: Start Slow
- Invest in some smaller kitchen tools designed for small hands (i.e. spoons, safety knives, a step ladder, and a child’s apron) to give kids a better feeling of control.
- Get kids in the kitchen on a regular basis, and have them do more than just set the table. Even very young children can help dress salads, put butter and jam on toast, and help make homemade pizza.
- Older kids can graduate to making simple things on their own with your supervision. Scrambled eggs, pancakes, and grilled sandwiches are great starter meals that are easy to make from start to finish, giving kids a huge sense of accomplishment.
- Be patient. Dinner might take longer, but the time together creating meals is building kitchen confidence and expanding their palettes.
Tactic Two: Build Confidence With Classes
- Once kids feel comfortable in the kitchen, help polish their skills (and yours) with cooking classes. Central Market offers occasion cooking classes designed just for kids. Kid’s Cooking Company is also a great resource.
- You could also enlist a foodie friend to teach a mini class to your kids (I “bribe” my foodiest friend with a good bottle of wine). Kids tend to take tips, advice, and input more seriously if it isn’t coming from their parents (sadly).
Tactic Three: Get Inspired
- Build a library of kids (and adult) cookbooks that you can read together for inspiration. The Silver Spoon for Children and Fanny at Chez Panisse are two of our family favorites.
- Cooking shows and movies focused around food are also good ways to get kids excited. Watch Ratatouille with the kids and then make the meal together after the screening.
Tactic Four: Get Out of the Kitchen
- Getting kids to view food as something beyond items to buy at the grocery store sparks their imagination and gets them excited (and more willing) to try new things. Some of our favorite foodie adventures include visiting the farmer’s market, renting a plot at a community garden, making trips to ethnic grocery stores, joining a CSA, and growing your own berries, herbs, and tomatoes.
- Check out our full list of foodie adventures culled by D Moms food editor Carol Shih.
You can take a peek at the full Texas Living segment here. Happy eating!