Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cooking with Kids

My daughter tends to be a very picky eater. She's pretty hesitant to try new things and tends to get bored with options pretty quickly. I can't get too excited when I make something she likes because it never lasts too long before she is refusing it. It's challenging and frustrating because I know how important it is for growth, energy, and focus for kids to have healthy, well balanced meals. So I finally came across a trick that helps me to  make sure she is eating right!

Cooking with kids! Yes, it's that easy. The minute I started involving my daughter in the cooking process she became a much better eater. She helps me to plan our meals for the week. I tell her choices and she makes the decision. Then she helps me to shop for all the ingredients and I tell her what they are for. She loves being involved in this process and starts to take ownership of the meals.

Once we have a plan and all the ingredients the rest is just fun. Everyday we spend time gathering our ingredients and then preparing the meal. Her favorite jobs are helping me measure things, pouring things into big bowls, and mixing. She is learning so much about cooking and doing math without even knowing it! And we are having a great time together instead of me trying to throw dinner together while the t.v. entertains her.

She takes such pride in being involved in the meal. When my husband gets home from work she announces what she has made for dinner. We play it up and compliment her on her cooking skills. This has really encouraged her to try new foods.

One of things my daughter has learned through our process of cooking together is that eat meal consists of some sort of meat, starch, and vegetable. And we love to have a nice variety of color on the plate. She really helps with picking out a nice bright colored vegetable that goes with the meal.

Rice has petty much become a staple food in our family. It's very easy to cook, we always have some in the cabinet, it's easy to flavor and make it go with anything, and my daughter loves it. Uncle Ben's know what an important part of your diet rice is and how easy it is to incorporate into your meal. So they are encouraging parents to involve their kids in cooking and making healthy dinner choices through a great new challenge called Ben's Beginners.

By entering the contest, you could win $20,000, along with a $50,000 grant towards a cafeteria makeover for your child’s school. In addition, you will have a chance to appear on The Rachael Ray show! 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. For more info on the contest, please check out Ben’s Beginners on Facebook!

Did you know that there are even studies that show when you begin preparing your meal with rice, you end you end up with a meal that's better for you! I love to make a beautiful vegetable and rice combination that is filling, colorful, and full of nutritional value. You can even mix it up by serving seasonal vegetables.

I strongly encourage you to get in the kitchen with your kids and have some fun whipping up some healthy meals. Start with some Uncle Ben's rice and see what you can come up with! And then share it in the Ben's Beginners contest. You could be the winner!

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


Unknown said...

Sounds like a great idea for cooking with kids! Thanks for sharing! I'd like to invite you to our party, Fantastic Thursday. http://www.fivelittlechefs.com Hope to see you there!