Cooking With YOUR Kids – Clean Eating Kids

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I am always so happy to find new bloggers that I enjoy reading.  And it makes me even happier when they are eager to share a story about their time in the kitchen with children.  Many thanks to Tiffany McCauley from The Gracious Pantry for this week’s awesome article on eating “clean” with children.  Good food for thought…

We all want out kids to be healthy. We make sure they get regular Dr. appointments, brush their teeth, and that they get enough rest to handle their day. But many parents don’t fully grasp the concept of how to nurture healthy eating habits in their children.

Perhaps they were never taught healthy eating habits themselves, or maybe life is just so hectic that a quick trip through a local drive-through seems like a light at the end of a long and tiring tunnel.  As adults, we get so caught up in our everyday lives, we forget about the vital connections we need to nurture with our children, and in our homes, especially in the kitchen.

Most people have fond memories of baking as a child. Time spent in the kitchen, working with food allows us to bond on a most basic and primal level.  Teaching our children how to cook is a life long lesson that will not only serve them well as adults, but also bring the family close together in the process.

If you add to that healthy, wholesome food that nourishes the soul as well as the tummy, you’ve created memories that will last a life time as well as giving your children a healthy and basic understanding of what real food is and what it’s supposed to taste like. A lesson that even many adults could stand to learn.

The faster life gets, the more we rely on processed and packaged foods. Sadly, the only concern these “food” manufacturers have is NOT our good nutrition, but rather, their bottom line. Getting back to basics and cooking with real foods is not a difficult process. If you teach your children (or learn along side them), the art of cooking healthy foods, you are also teaching them how to nurture themselves for a lifetime. You teach them respect, discipline and patience as well as creativity and imagination. The lessons learned in the kitchen go way beyond the food prepared there.

Feeding your kids clean foods from the beginning is, of course, optimal. There’s nothing as simple as putting some broccoli through the blender to feed your baby.  But if your kids are older and already accustomed to processed foods, there are small changes you can make to ease their transition from processed to fresh and clean.

  • Let them cook! Kids who are involved in the process are far more likely to eat what is put on their plate and far more likely to serve themselves healthy foods when they are made available.
  • For younger children, make up names for food you want them to eat. Kids are far more likely to eat “dinosaur trees” than they are to eat “broccoli”.
  • If you have a small patch of yard or even a few larger flower pots, help your kids grow a few veggies. Not only do they gain a basic understanding of where their food comes from, but they will actually be excited about eating something they’ve nurtured and waited for for so long.
  • Ease them into healthier eating slowly. Sudden dietary changes, unless medically necessary, are usually not looked upon favorably by the younger folk.
  • Talk to then about why you are making these changes. Talking to your kids about good health is a discussion you should start having as early as possible. It teaches kids to take responsibility for their own health.

No matter what tricks you use, teaching your children about clean, healthy eating is a lesson they will thank you for for the rest of their lives. Take the time to teach and you’ll build memories and connections that can never be broken.