I firmly believe that involving your child in cooking from an early age is essential. This way, your child will grow up recognizing the value and taste of whole foods.
Additionally, it is a great way to bond with your child while laying a firm foundation for healthy eating. In my office, I strive to teach school-age kids and parents how to read (and understand) the ingredients. This way, they can gain a better understanding of what they are putting into their bodies when they consume processed foods.
The fact is, if you do not keep junk foods in your pantry, your kid will not be able to eat them (until they are old enough to drive). If they do not see such foods frequently in front of their eyes, trust me, they will crave them less. Out of sight truly IS out of mind!
Of course, everything in moderation. Once in a while , it is OK get a break the rules and splurge.
Tips to Get You and Your Child Cooking
1. Keep a well stocked pantry
2. Invite your child to help with meal plan and shopping
3. Teach your child to read ingredient lists
4. Make your kitchen child-friendly
5. Have plenty of cooking equipment on-hand
6. Find a cool apron for your child
7. Start a garden or grow some herbs
8. Visit the farmers market or local farm
9. Teach your child how to choose good produce
11. Keep a variety of whole foods on-hand
12. Turn off the TV!
13. Eat together as a family
14. Give your child responsibilities in the kitchen
15. Reward with play-dates at the park
16. Show your child how you enjoy healthy foods
17. Be a Good Role Model!