Whether you have a picky eater on your hands or a junk food craving kiddo, the trick to changing your child’s unhealthy eating habits may actually be in their little hands. A recent study published in the CDC’s Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice and Policy found that getting kids involved in the kitchen positively influences children’s food preferences and behaviors and may make them more likely to choose healthy foods. The study even noted an increase in the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and dietary fiber, along with a willingness to try new foods and an increased confidence in the ability to prepare foods.
From playing “I Spy” in the produce section, to letting them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try at home, grocery shopping can be an exciting adventure instead of a weekly routine.
Kid-focused cooking classes not only teach kids about safe food preparation, but are also a fun environment for getting creative with fresh ingredients.
Let them get creative by sprinkling fresh herbs and dried seasonings onto vegetables or other healthy foods. Also, if your child shows more interest in the prep, let them peel the carrots, slice the avocado with a plastic spoon, or even tear up the lettuce for salads and sandwiches.
Involve them in the family’s meal planning by letting each kid pick what’s on the menu for weekend dinners or lunches, then help them get inventive with nutritious sides (i.e., taco night with fresh guacamole).