Guest post written by Kathleen McAllister MS, RD, CDN
Cornell Cooperative Extension
Do you have an energetic child who loves to be with you in the kitchen? Or maybe a child who wants to eat nothing but boxed mac and cheese? Working together in the kitchen to prepare food is a great way for children to learn new skills, gain confidence, have fun, and try nutritious foods.
Children are eager to be involved in meal preparation, as it helps fulfill some of their natural curiosity about the food they eat. They are more likely to eat foods they helped cut, stir, chop, or cook. With the right tools, kids can easily get their hands in on the kitchen action.
Helping children assemble their own kid-friendly kitchen kit can make preparing food even more fun and special. Any plastic container or basket will work well. Stickers can be used to decorate and personalize the kit. Start with a plastic or silicon spatula, spoon, or whisk for mixing or stirring, in your child’s favorite bright colors. Blunt scissors, egg slicers and plastic knives are useful for cutting soft items. A plastic pizza and cookie cutter can be used to make food into fun shapes. Add a food grade brush to “paint” on marinade for kebobs and meats. Complete the kit with a chef’s hat and apron so kids can look the part. Store your kid-friendly kit in a special place in the kitchen, and your child will be ready to help prepare any family meal or snack.
Price Chopper, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Eat Smart New York!, have teamed up to celebrate our fourth annual Family Mealtimes Matter Campaign. Make the pledge to spend the next month making mealtimes better together by setting a goal to increase the number of meals you have together as a family. If you have children, try setting a goal to involve them in preparing one family meal a week, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Stop by select Price Chopper stores in New York State on October 11th and 13th to speak to Cornell Cooperative Extension Nutrition Educators and Price Chopper Dietitians, and pick up helpful resources. For a complete list of the Price Chopper locations hosting these events, click here!
For more information about Cornell Cooperative Extension and Eat Smart New York!, go to www.cce.cornell.edu and http://otda.ny.gov/programs/nutrition/ or call your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office. For resources outside of New York State, contact your state extension office.