Today we’re making a no bake tart. It’s easy to make, just throw all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process or blend till combined. The recipe can be found under Recipe book. Making recipes like this chocolate tart is a great way to start getting kids involved in the kitchen. This leads us to the very first of our “Bringing up healthy kids that love real food” series.
1. Involvement – a simple word that holds such significance and requires a bit of sacrifice. I come from a family with slight OCD tendencies toward cleanliness and tidiness. I detest a messy kitchen. At the sight of dirty plates piled high, crumbs on the floor, or unfinished food left at the table, my brain comes to a complete halt as if to prevent itself from overloading. Any mess blocks my creativity, motivation and positivity. Hang on…KIDS + FOOD PREP = MESS!!!!
But with the flour coated kitchen bench and batter streaked clothes, I realise that there is a beautiful connection forming within. For the child, it is not only a time of bonding with the adult they are helping, but It also forms a connection with the innocence of childhood and turning real food into delicious meals.
why is it important to get kids involved in food prep?
Kids will eventually become adults. In this age of processed foods and rising statistics of endemic disease, we have to be educated enough to choose real food, to be able to prepare a tasty and healthy meal, to inspire and pass on our knowledge to the next generation, to be able make wise food decisions at a social event. It is very easy to say to our littlies, “Don’t eat that because mummy or daddy says so,” but that’s not enough, we have to teach them WHY.
Kids are more likely to eat the food they prepared. Instead of being served up a plateful of mishmash, they have the chance to interact with the raw ingredients. Participating in putting the meal together also gives them a sense of ownership. It is quite hard for kids to say “no” to tasting something that they have taken pride in preparing.
How do we get kids involved? Kids learn best with all senses. By getting them involved in meal preparation we are stimulating them to feel, taste, smell, hear and observe.
A simple example is a bucketful of rice. Grab a handful and watch the rice grains fall as you allow it to run through your fingers. Play with the rice. Be mindful of how the motion of running our hands through rice appeals to all our senses. Take time to smell the nuttiness of uncooked rice grains, attempt to bite it, feel the coolness and observe the shine on the grain itself.
And if you and the kids are up to it, help them cook up the pot of rice and encourage them to observe the amazing change that has taken place.
Some practical ways to involve our little ones in the kitchen
– pour cups of dry/wet ingredients into a mixing bowl
– crack eggs into a separate bowl before adding to the mixing bowl (watch out for shells!)
– peel bananas and mash them up with their fingers in a bowl (kids love this!!)
– read the recipe aloud and assist mum with the next step
– punch bread dough and make funny faces or shapes with it
– chop up veggies with a kids friendly knife
– taste and ask for their opinions (My rule of thumb: if the kids thinks it’s good, IT’S GOOD.)
– decorate a simple cake or tart (allowing them the room to be inspired and create)
– roll bliss balls (more ideas on this later)
– press buttons to operate machines i.e blender, food processor
– whisking/stirring/ frying when you feel they are old enough to take on the responsibility
There are many ways we can involve our kids in the kitchen. It does take more time to involve kids in preparing healthy meals. Let’s make it our priority to nurture a generation of revolutionary real food chefs!! Add 1 cup of patience and another cup of love into the chocolate tart recipe. Let your hair down and welcome mess. Creativity comes with mess. For the kids at least.
To raising healthy and happy kids,