For many parents of young children, introducing healthy foods can be a struggle. A recent national survey reported that parents believe that the media has a negative influence on their children’s eating habits. The Pampered Chef®, in partnership with the Family Resiliency Center, has found that cooking together helps create family traditions and teaches children to make healthier selections.
“Involving children in the mealtime process can have a positive impact on their food choices,” explains Dr. Barbara Fiese, professor and director of the Family Resiliency Center at the University of Illinois. “Children who learn cooking skills and help with grocery shopping are more likely to enjoy nutritious foods, like fruits and vegetables.”
The Pampered Chef, the largest direct seller of kitchen tools, is committed to helping these families come together around the table each night. Through its partnership with the Family Resiliency Center, they have developed tips that make it easier to include kids in the mealtime process.
• Reduce screen time. Cut down on children’s exposure to food advertising by limiting screen time, including game and entertainment websites that promote unhealthy foods.
• Start the conversation. Talk to children before and during grocery shopping about what are healthy foods and why you are buying them. Help older children read and understand food labels.
• Involve everyone. Kids as young as 2 can help with mealtime preparations, such as cleaning counters and tables and helping with napkins and utensils. Older children can mix and measure ingredients and read recipes.
• Make it fun. Use your time in the kitchen together to talk about how foods look, smell and feel. Children learn best when they can utilize all their senses.
• Create memories. Share family stories about learning to cook, while spending time together in the kitchen.