Moms ask me all the time if my daughter is a good eater, and I'm happy to say that she is. Part of the reason is that I put her to work in the kitchen (from an early age … see the video below). I've said before and I'll say again that the more kids get involved with their food, the more likely they are to eat it. Here are a few ways that Noemi (4-1/2) and I cook together in the kitchen.
- We snap beans and peas together, and husk corn … often at the table outside or on our front stoop (I think God made front stoops as a place to husk corn and eat popsicles).
- Noemi “zips” greens for me. She loves, loves, loves doing this and is so proud of what a great job she does.
- She cuts soft vegetables and fruits like mushrooms and strawberries. I bought a couple of plastic serrated knives from Curious Chef a couple of years ago and we've never looked back. Noe puts a cutting board on her her little “stove,” picks up her knife and goes.
- Noe loves pounding garlic in my mortar and pestle. Last night, as I was pulling together a pasta with zucchini and pesto, she perked up and asked if she could help out. So I put her to work on the pesto (what she's not so fond of is mommy hopping up to get her camera and then making her hold a pose …).
- A different season, but Noemi also loves getting pomegranate seeds out of the pod, and little things like rolling cheese in breadcrumbs and shaping mounds of dough.
The point is, the kitchen is a really fun place for kids if you invite them to do things that they can excel at and enjoy … no matter what their age. Start them young and your kids will become naturally curious towards food, rather than looking at it as something foisted upon them.
Last night after making her pesto, for instance, Noemi was enthusiastic about sitting down for dinner. And, yes, she did eat the zucchini.