Cooking with Your Toddler

cooking with your toddlerI love to cook! It’s a huge part of what I do as a holistic health counselor and it’s been a huge part of my life since I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 18. When I was working full time out of my home I had to get creative on making time to cook. It wasn’t something I was willing to compromise on, and after being away from each other all day my daughter wanted my full attention and of course I also wanted to spend quality time with her too. So I figured out ways to make cooking fun for us to do together.

That’s how I discovered the “Learning Tower”. I’ve had it for over 3 years now and I will say it is worth every penny I spent on it. You could surely use a step stool if your child is tall enough or even other versions of the same thing. The key is to have them at counter level so that they can actually help you do things. Yes, it might be a little messier and take a little longer to have them help, but it’s so much fun for them and it’s such a great learning experience for them to see first hand how meals are actually prepared. I’ve also found that kids are much more open to trying new things when they’re helped prepare them!

Make sure you have a chore to keep them entertained. Some great things to help keep them entertained that are actually helpful are: tasking them to get things off low shelves, mixing ingredients together in a large bowl (if the bowl is too small you’re just asking for a big mess!), adding premeasured ingredients into a bowl, pressing the button on the food processor, rinsing vegetables, adding toppings, rolling out pizza dough, scooping batter into muffin tins, or greasing pans. The more time you spend with your child in the kitchen the more ways you’ll find to incorporate their help.

If you’re looking for some kid friendly cookbooks that can give you ideas and make it even more fun for the kids, Fork and Bottle has reviews on quite a few cookbooks that are specifically for kids. One that we have particularly enjoyed is Eat like a Dinosaur by the Paleo Parents. The recipes are kid friendly, delicious, and they have specific tasks in each recipe for kids to do which gives you one less thing to worry about. Toss out your fears of getting messy and get into the kitchen!

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor and online fitness coach. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their grove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.

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