As a busy mom of five kids who mostly cooks on my own because I (mostly) refuse to feed my kids prepackaged junk, I’m always asked what we do to conquer the picky eater. I’ve offered a few ideas before and several of my own recipes under the heading “The Sneaky Mama.” I can’t say that we’ve always had 100% success, but my children eat healthily most of the time and they all consume some manner of fruits and vegetables daily.
However, my best “trick” to get my kids to like what they’re eating is to let them help me cook it. It almost never fails and I have experimental guinea pigs to prove it. (And yes, I even let the twins help–they just require a little extra supervision.) Turns out, there might be some physiological and psychological reasons why it is so.
Pavlov Was a Genius
Pavlov really is the first genius to figure this out, but cooking makes you hungry. You smell something delicious or something you think will be tasty and you start to salivate which in turns tells your brain–you’re hungry. So having your little kitchen helper around during dinner preparation really could be a great way to increase appetite for what’s being served.
I am convinced that this is the primary goal of the preschool set is the create something and show it off. No matter how many large purple blobs and scribbles I put on my fridge, each one demands my fullest and most enthusiastic, “Wow–this is really great.” It’s true for food too. When you let your children cook with you, creating something tasty for the family is very satisfying to them. But there’s a slightly added bonus: if you let your pickiest one cook, she’s more apt to cook it the way she likes it most. . .which in turn might make her eat just a little better.
An Interest in Food
I realize not everyone stands around the kitchen talking about the stalk of a rhubarb and trying to ascertain just how on earth did someone figure out that a red looking celery with bitter roots and poisonous leaves would be just dandy in a pie. But creating interest in your child regarding the food that we eat has some valuable side effects. One of those is that frequently knowing about your food, helps you choose better.
So go ahead, invite your chefs into the kitchen. Or better yet, let them practice their culinary skills for Mother’s Day which is just around the corner.
The Sneaky Mama
Valorie Delp shares recipes and kitchen tips in the food blog, solves breastfeeding problems, shares parenting tips, and current research in the baby blog, and insight, resources and ideas as a regular guest blogger in the homeschooling blog. To read more articles by Valorie Delp, click here.
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