02 Aug 5 Easy Ways to Get Your Kids in the Kitchen
In honor of Kids Eat Right month, we’re participating in the 2017 Kids in the Kitchen Collaboration with Chef/RD Sara Haas. @Robinsbite intern Krista and I are sharing our 5 best ways to get kiddos in the kitchen.
Secret #1 Meet them where they are.
Just yesterday, I was lunching with my two nieces, S (19) and C (18), at a super trendy restaurant in Dallas, Flower Child. Among their many offerings was a rather impressive avocado toast with a soft boiled egg, cheese, and black sesame seeds. I know, I know…another avocado toast. But wait…there’s more.
Both of them ordered it. One of them knew how she could recreate it at home. The other one didn’t. When I told the one who didn’t that I would be more than happy to teach her how to make it before she goes back to college (go Hoosiers), her eyes lit up and she said “You can? Really? Will you? ” to which I happily said, “of course”! Nothing makes me happier than to teach someone how to cook–at age 4, 14 or almost 20. The trick is to meet them where they are–regardless of their age-because every.one.is.different. And, because yes, these two are still kids to me. And what I say goes.
Secret #2 Embrace the Chaos and the Mess
As I said over on Jen Haugen’s blog a few years back, it’s not going to be a Norman Rockwell experience. It still isn’t going to be a Normal Rockwell experience.Here’s the excerpt: it IS going to be messy, and everything associated with it will take 10X longer than anticipated. You’ll hear yourself saying “don’t touch that” and “listen to me” a million times and it’s highly likely that very last nerve will be exposed and frazzled until there is nothing left. To add insult to injury, there’s a good chance that the food they make may not be edible. Accept it. It’s not about the outcome, it’s about the journey.
Secret #3 Encourage Kids to Give Back to those Who Experience Hunger
This may be an indirect way to get kids into the kitchen, but believe me when I say it’s powerful. It doesn’t have to be much. In fact, it could just be them tagging along when you are volunteering at your local soup kitchen, food bank or church food pantry. It’s collecting canned foods during a local food drive or making sandwiches for a sandwich drive. It’s putting food out for the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive powered by the USPS. It’s delivering Meals on Wheels meals to homebound seniors. Or making lunches for the homeless. Or baking cookies. Or handing out water bottles. Or, or, or….the list goes on and on and on.
You may not know this, but I’m a very proud Aunt. My sister, Janeesa, and my nephews Everett (6) and Rocky (2) and I love to spend time in the kitchen together. Thanks to Janeesa, I’ve learned a few tips to keep her kiddos happy in the kitchen and hopefully, she’s picked up a few tips from me!
Secret #4 Have them pick their favorite food or ingredient
Giving them the choice not only ensures that they will eat the food but they will also get to experience the process. They happen to love pizza. Can you tell from the photo?
Secret#5. Create an event out of it
Make it a group affair by bringing the neighborhood together or throwing their next birthday bash in the kitchen! For my nephews 4th birthday not only was my sister able to take him to his favorite place for pizza but she threw his party there too! (again, see pizza picture).