(BPT) - Kids love to eat, but many don't know how their favorite meals are made. If your child expresses interest in cooking or making food for themselves, the best time to get them in the kitchen is now. No matter their age, fostering your kids' interest in foods and cooking can boost their confidence and equip them with lifelong skills that will serve them well.
Your child's ability to master different recipes and cooking styles will depend on multiple factors. However, there are many ways to empower your child in the kitchen. Here are three tips to get started.
Making dinner once a week
Having your child assist with or cook dinner can be a great learning opportunity. Before they start prepping, make sure you:
- Assign tasks appropriate for their age: Give younger kids simpler duties like washing produce or clearing off the table. Older kids can typically do more advanced tasks like boiling pasta, reviewing recipes or chopping vegetables.
- Have them pick the recipes: When it comes to creating food, kids like to have choices. By letting them choose what they make, they're more invested in the process and committed to making their dish the best it can be.
- Allow for mistakes: Mistakes while cooking can provide a valuable learning experience. When your kids make an error, it can help them adapt to unfamiliar and difficult situations.
- Challenge them: When your kids make complicated meals, use positive reinforcement and reward their efforts rather than the outcome.
- Have them clean up: Get your child into the habit of cleaning up right after they’re done cooking. Have them turn off the stove, oven and any other devices they used to cook.
Packing their own lunch
When kids pack their own lunches, that extra responsibility can do them a huge favor. According to a recent study, kids who pack their own lunches have increased self-esteem and confidence when solving problems. Encourage them to pack a balanced lunch that contains whole grains, vegetables, fruits and protein.
Power Your Lunchbox from the Healthy Family Project has a variety of lunchbox recipes that are both tasty and nutritious. With meals like chickpea stuffed peppers, burger skewers and pizza pockets, there are countless options your kid will love.
Making their own afterschool snacks
Kids often need an afternoon snack to tide them over until dinner. A healthy afternoon snack can help them power through their homework, study hard and do well in school, so why not encourage them to make their own? For instance, if they like to eat ants on a log, show them where to find the peanut butter, raisins and celery in the kitchen and how they can combine these ingredients into the perfect afterschool snack.
Prepare your kiddo for success
A child doesn’t achieve their full potential overnight. But when you empower them in the kitchen, anything is possible. With nutritious recipes from Power Your Lunchbox, your kids can get the nutrients they need to do well in school and beyond.
Healthy Family Project's Power Your Lunchbox program is doing more than just offering lunchbox inspiration this year. Since so many teachers have gone above and beyond during these unprecedented times, you can nominate your child's favorite teacher for a chance to win five $250 Amazon gift cards. All you have to do is upload three words that describe your child's favorite teacher.
Information is available now at healthyfamilyproject.com/poweryourlunchbox/sweepstakes/.