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Cooking 4 Kids-Tips for Finding the Best Way to Get Little Ones to Eat

Updated on April 16, 2012

If you are a parent, then I do not need to tell you that coming up with meals for your little ones can often be quite a challenge. Children more likely than not prefer to eat the better tasting yet not so nutritious foods that are best for their growing bodies. Even as parents knowing the daily food requirements set out by the ministry of health for servings of grains, proteins, fruits,vegetables and calcium, preparing meals they will eat that will provide enough may be another matter all together.

So how can you go about trying to get all of these nutrients into your little ones diets so they can grow up healthy and strong?

Make Snack Time Fun

One of the great things about fruits and vegetables is the numerous ways they can be eaten. If you are having a tough time getting your kids to eat cooked veggies at dinner, then how about trying to get them to eat them for snack instead of the usual cookie or potato chips they so often prefer. If you are worried about being able to get them to eat these vegetables and fruit choices, you can try making a game out of it. Cut up pieces of the food in various shapes and sizes and create a vegetable person or fruit car from the wedges. Cooking 4 kids does not necessarily mean having to cook anything at all, and by adding some fun into something that may normally be seen as "yucky" or "boring", you allow your child to use thier imagination while they eat. By trying creative ideas such as this, you will soon hear your little one asking for more pieces of pineapple,cantaloupe or strawberries within no time.

Something Old, Something New

If your child has a favorite food such as macaroni and cheese but you are getting to the point where you can not bear to see or smell one more dish, it may be time to jazz things up. Try adding some tuna, tomatoes, or beans to create a new flavor but that still contains healthy nutrients and something that you know your child already likes. If your child likes to eat canned alphagetti or similar canned pasta meals and you are afraid they are not going to get enough vitamins out of the meal,try chopping up some chunks of cooked ham or chicken and throw it in with the dish. More than likely, they will not complain and just eat it.

Look for new and improved things on the market in regards to your child's favorite dishes. Kraft dinner now has a new macaroni and cheese that is made from cauliflower. It looks and tastes the same, your child will never know the difference and he will be better off for the extra vitamins and nutrients found in the hidden vegetable.

While we all know that fresh fruits and vegetables provide the best nutrients, often kids don't want the extra chewing involved. By cooking your veggies, or buying and using frozen ones, you can still offer the foods but they are served with a different taste and texture. You may want to avoid the canned fruits though since often many are preserved with a high sugary syrup.

Don't Be Afraid to Try New Recipes

Sites like Campbells.com and other popular manufacturing sites now offer free recipes either online, and sometimes on the back of your soup label. By trying out these new recipes, you will be able to experience new taste sensations and not have to worry about spending hours hunting through your grandma's old recipe books. These recipes are more often made up of simple every day ingredients that you will already have in your cupboards unlike some of the recipes found in fancy cookbooks that call for expensive herbs and spices you may only use for that dish or until the next time you want to impress dinner guests.

Many of these recipes will call for diary products which is a great source of calcium and a nice tasty way to make sure your children get their recommended daily intake of calcium. Serving little desserts made from ice cream, yogurt or pudding also help your children enjoy their dairy.

While your children may enjoy their favorite foods (my kids favorites are pb. and jam sandwiches, hot dogs, and alphagetti),not only will you get tired of making the same old stuff but sooner or later, they will grow bored with it as well. What will you do then? Take the time to try to incorporate one new meal to try every week into your menu. You don't need to make it fancy, most kids actually prefer things simple where they can taste everything they need to eat. You want to encourage your children to try new flavors and textures and learn to form opinions on them based on their own experience and not someone elses or by what they think a piece of food may look like.

Have Your Kids Help Out

If you are at the point where it seems like no matter what you try to make for your kids to eat, they don't want any part of it, you may want to enlist their help in the kitchen. Teach them how to pour out ingredients into a bowl, ask them to wash and tear apart lettuce, or anything else you think they might be able to do depending on their age. During this time, take the time to talk with them and either make up stories or ask them about their day if they are school aged. If they have a good time cooking with you, and you thank them for their help and compliment their work, they will be more inclined to eat it.

Getting your children to help in the kitchen also teaches them how much work and effort is put into making a meal. This will help them to appreciate what you do for them and they may be less likely to complain or eat in a sullen manner. Cooking 4 kids can be a challenge but at the same time, it can also be rewarding and fun in which you can spend quality time bonding with
your loved ones.

For more tips for cooking with children or free easy recipes, be sure to visit My Cute Little Chef which is my newest blog and I will be consistently adding more stuff to help all parents out who would like to teach their kids how to cook.

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    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 7 years ago from UK

      Great advice and very well written. I love cooking with my kids- especially when we have pancake days or bake cupcakes. We recently tried pizza making too. Thanks for the tips, voted up!

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