Truly at the heart of every home is the kitchen. We can pass on healthy eating habits and wellness practices to our kids by teaching them the value of food and the importance of their health. Instead of creating a “healthy diet” based on limitations and rules, you can show them how to eat, move, and breathe from a place of love: love for themselves, their communities, and their larger world.
In the Jaffe home, I make smoothies with the kids or superfood waffles. I don’t limit their diets because I show them how to love whole, nutritious, and vibrant food. I cook with them and allow them to experiment with meals—under my watchful eye. I stock the house with a ton of fruits, veggies and delicious nutrient-dense snacks.
Cooking together is a beautiful way to bond and spend more time together. Yes, having kids in the kitchen can slow things down and be messy, but it’s so fun and a great learning experience for kids who will only grow to be more comfortable in the kitchen.
Here are 5 simple ways to involve your kids more in the kitchen!
There have been so many amazing memories created in our kitchen surrounding food. Kai will create smoothies for us and sometimes we have a brunch party with endless superfood waffles. We try new things together and get fun and experimental with food.
My number one tip is to make it FUN!!
Find new recipes to cook together in the kitchen, make them feel important, and make them feel like they’re actually doing something by themselves. They get an extreme sense of accomplishment and cooking is such a great way to spend quality time with them. Put on music and dance around in the kitchen while you’re cooking. Even if it’s slow and messy, the most important thing is to have fun.
Here’s an easy kid-friendly recipe to try: Cacao Brownies
Keep introducing them to new things; don’t force it.
You don’t need to pressure them. Hopefully if they keep seeing you eating something, they’ll want to imitate you. Your kids are a mirror of your habits and behaviors. If you demonstrate respecting your body through self -love and care through nutrition, your kids will also mirror that priority of self-love. All of our kids eat very differently, they still crave sugary treats, but they also do a really great job of eating their colors. I never pressured them into eating foods like me, but I just tried my best to lead by example. It's so rewarding to see them wanting "to be like mommy," all the while making healthy choices and truly enjoying it!
Take a trip to the store or farmer’s market together.
Let their curiosity run wild! Check out the new seasonal veggies and colors and flavors. Pick out some new produce and get creative in the kitchen with it. If they have a favorite color, then go off of that. Get them EXCITED to try something new that they picked out themselves and they’re curious to try! Make it a challenge to eat your colors, not your “vegetables.”
Make the time, but only if it makes sense for everyone.
By no means do you need to MAKE your kids help out in the kitchen. If you’re pressed for time, preparing a more elaborate meal, or feeling overwhelmed, it’s better to make a meal on your own. Try out meals together on weekends, holidays, days off, evening and when you have the space and excitement to do so.
Try this dinner recipe to make with your kids: Cauliflower Pizza
Take the pressure off.
They don’t need to be professional chefs to succeed in the kitchen. It’s an accomplishment if they’re just interested. Ask your kids to work on preparation while you read out the recipe or ask them to read while you prepare. Your kids can mix ingredients, wash fruits + veggies and as they get older they can cut and measure ingredients. Cooking together can be as simple as putting ingredients in a blender for a superfood smoothie, arranging toppings on a pizza, or creating our own smoothie bowls.
My kiddos love superfood smoothies because for them, it’s a treat. I make the smoothie with tons of Philosophie superfoods and lots of organic fruits and veggies, but I let them choose the toppings. During the summer, I turn the smoothies into popsicles that they can eat poolside which they love.