Now that my son is six years old, another bonus to helping in the kitchen is that it introduced him to math and reading by way of following recipes. He would point out numbers and eventually words he knew in recipes. Of course, cake box mix is the best because of the pictures on the box of the ingredients but I digress, because what I really want to do is share how my love of cooking has helped my son and with any luck, baby girl, eat healthy.
I am the first to admit that I am not the most healthy person, but I try. Having kids have changed this because you want them to be healthy, too. Allowing the first grader to pick out his own fruits and vegetables at the farmer’s market, heck even the grocery store; then allowing him to rip and shred lettuce or pull celery apart made it even more fun. When it is fun, like most kids, my son will go out of his way to be involved.
Another way to make cooking in the kitchen more fun for the first grader was planting a garden. Over the summer, little man can pick out his tomatoes or basil and help me create a caprise salad with some awesome mozzarella! He really loves being able to be creative and as a bonus he is eating his vegetables.
One of my favorite little memories is over hearing the Husband tell his mom that the kids ate a bag of baby carrots instead of the leftover Halloween candy. He was just beside himself that they ate the whole bag when the candy was in the house. When the kids are hungry they know and can easily reach the fruits or veggies. I keep them out on the table or within easy reach on a shelf in the fridge.
Finding new ways to cook with the kids can be a challenge but as he gets older he gets to try out new kitchen gadgets. Lately, he is using a potato peeler to help me make baked french fries and we are working our way up to the apple splitter. Eventually, he may try his had at the blender or rice cooker but until then I am just happy to have him in the kitchen with me, helping to find and make his new favorite dishes.
What is really great is that Uncle Ben’s has launched an exciting national contest called Ben’s Beginners! Uncle Ben’s is calling for parents with children ages 5-12 to submit a 2-3 minute video of you cooking a rice-based dish with your children. What’s the prize you ask? You could win $20,000, along with a $50,000 grant towards a cafeteria makeover for your child’s school. And, you will have a chance to appear on The Rachael Ray show! How cool is that!
I guess little man and I will start digging into the recipe books for a good rice recipe to share. This won't be that hard. For more info on the contest, please check out Ben’s Beginners on Facebook!
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Uncle Ben’s blogging program, for 6,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.