Each one of us has either experienced or met at least one person who will lament about their kids eating habits. On the most hated list for kids would be food items like vegetables or pulses or even fruits. The fussing is directly proportional to the nutritional value of the food item! So what can you do? Force them – nah, instead get them to join the cooking brigade at home. The fun of cooking and the feeling of preparing something on their own will do the trick – without them realizing it.
Of course let them do everything – cleaning, chopping, cooking and serving. Did I just say chopping? That would not be safe you might argue.
Make Sure Your Child Is Safe:
Wrong – there are a variety of cutting and chopping tools that are safe for children depending the age group. Get these into your kitchen and watch your little one blossom into a self-styled home chef without the danger of cutting their fingers. Teach your child the basics first. Like remaining calm and focused and keeping a clear work space except for the food to be cut, cutting tools and chopping board. From my experience, describing to the child what the food will look and taste like – drawing imageries and likening it to things they are fond of, is half the battle won. Doesn’t a broccoli floret resemble a tree!
The food cutter is such a fun and useful tool to have. Ask the little chef to place on the chopping board the vegetables that need to be cut. All they need to do is pummel it up and down and the vegetables don’t stand a chance. The kids love the idea of chopping up those little demonic food items and will almost beg you to cut up some more. It is so easy to chop up the vegetables in a short span of time and yet they feel a sense of accomplishment. When they see how much fun it is they are sure to create a din to move to the next round of the process all the way to the eating!
The other really safe but fun kitchen equipment is the food blender. All they need to do is place all the ingredients in, add a little water and press the start button. Hey presto – the ingredients are in frenzied motion and the sound of the blender is music to their ears. For the kids it is a delightful performance that reduces the vegetables and other ingredients into a pulp. Gotcha! Remember however to teach them never to put their fingers into the jar but use a spatula or spoon to remove the blended ingredients. Tell them the dangers of handling the sharp blade in the blender.
Let the child move on to using a knife – not the big sharp ones, but rather a blunt table or butter knife. These may not be effective in chopping the harder ingredients but let the child use it to cut cubes of cottage cheese or bananas and even to butter a slice or smother it with cheese spread. The child is safe and yet is learning how to use a knife for different purposes while having a load of fun.
If you think your child is ready, the next thing you use is a vegetable peeler. Start with a small vegetable and a small size peeler. Show them how to hold the vegetable and the peeler, which must be used in long strokes along the vegetable. The sheer thrill of the magically appearing vegetable is enough to keep the child glued till the end.
Start cooking all the chopped ingredients and allow them to throw in the salt and other condiments and come up with a delicious dish that can be served at the family lunch or dinner.
Make sure it says – prepared by ‘the little chef’!
(Image Courtesy: darisy2u.blogspot.com)