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5 Ways to Get Kids Back Into the Kitchen!

5 Ways to Get Kids Back Into the Kitchen!

Certified Nutritional Practitioner Jennifer Potter shares 5 ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen--and it's easy and fun! Check it out!  

The fall means back to school and easing back into the natural school year routine; homework, after school activities, making lunches, dinner and preparing healthy snacks. This transition can be hard coming out of the carefree days of summer and can feel like a never-ending balancing act.   Why not ease the pain a little? Get your kids involved in the kitchen. They will thank you and you will thank them!  

Tired after a long day? Kids are not always the best at recognizing that. Create an energized vibe in the kitchen. It helps kids look at cooking with more of a positive attitude. Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore but more a hobby. As a kid, my father always had music playing in the kitchen. It is an awesome way to get out of the after work/after school funk.  
Kids get excited to move away from working with the typical bowl and spoon or pots and pans. Try using different kitchen gizmos and gadgets. Use a blender, spiralizer, mortal and pestle or a hand mixer to encourage kids to explore different kitchen equipment. Run over some general safety rules beforehand and they will be set to go.   Try different foods. When I was a kid each week we were able to pick a fruit or a vegetable of our choice that we had never tried before. Then as a family we all came up with ideas on how we could use it for a meal or snack during the week! There are so many healthy food options out there just waiting for you to explore!  
Pick one night or afternoon per week and have kids contribute to ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Don’t have time to have a formal sit down? A great way to meal plan is to use a meal-planning sheet and pin it to the fridge. Kids can contribute to it all week long. When kids can create a sense of ownership over their meals the commitment to eat it follows right behind it.  A bit of meal planning also reduces the number of trips to the grocery store in a week so that bit of time on the weekend will most certainly pay off!  
Having kids working away in the kitchen can be a little nerve wracking! Small children can safely pour, mix, stir, blend and measure while older kids can safely help with chopping. Start with a small but sharp paring knife. A dull knife can actually be more dangerous. Learning how to chop at an early age decreases accidents in the kitchen later on. It also instills confidence with cooking for the years ahead.  

Let kids explore food. Use the 5 senses; see, smell, taste, hear and touch the food. For instance; look, smell, touch and taste spices before popping them into a soup or stew. Kids love learning about and looking at food in a more educational way. Inspire them to take these extra steps towards discovering the power of food! This also applies if you bring your kids to the grocery store- let them pick produce and put in the basket. It again allows them to be part of the process and they will understand that food doesn't magically show up at home!  

Finally, remember a little mess in the kitchen is okay and while involving your kids in meal prep may take a little extra time in the beginning, instilling these skills will help them in the long run. And when they are old enough they can take on a family meal solo! Ah, wouldn't that be nice!  

Want to get your kids even more involved? Check out the amazing Halloween Kids Kitchen I'm hosting at Goodness Me! Burlington on Saturday October 24. Trick or treat, you'll make something good to eat! Kids Kitchen is hosting a Halloween Party and you are invited. Join us for a Saturday morning filled with Halloween themed cooking, crafts and games. Don't forget to come dressed in your Halloween costume. It will be a SPOOKTACULAR time! Sign up here today to avoid disappointment if the class is full. We'll see you there!  

Jennifer Potter BA, CNP, RNCP is Healthy Living Advisor, Kids Kitchen Facilitator and Lifewatcher instructor with Goodness Me Natural Food Market. Jennifer is also the founder of Jennifer Potter Health where she inspires families to get healthy food on the table through one-on-one consulting, grocery store tours, healthy pantry stocking and group and individual cooking classes. 

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