Healthy Happy Kids in the Kitchen

Three kids are cooking today! Mother is overseeing as a teenage girl and her two brother are chopping and mixing ingredients for family lunch.

Emilie Maynor and Laura DeCastra are Birmingham locals that regularly share their knowledge about yoga, food and how to get kiddos excited about healthy eating! Lucky for us, Emilie and Laura generously shared some great tips from their blog about trying new foods and getting in the kitchen with your kids!

Mix It Up in the Kitchen

The idea of trying new foods and getting the whole family in the kitchen is a parent’s dream, right? However, seasoned parents know it is a little difficult to make this a reality. Thankfully, Emilie and Laura have offered some suggestions to make things go a little smoother and you’ll have happy kids in the kitchen!

Trying New Things

“It doesn’t have to be just gold fish, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and, cookies,” Emilie and Laura write. Of course, children can be PICKY when it comes to eating, but Emilie and Laura show us what is possible when we begin with this simple tip: Have each person in the family try one new food a week to add in their lunch or to your family’s dinner.

Simple Food Swaps

Here are a few “food swap” ideas from Emilie & Laura:

  • Slices of cheese instead of goldfish
    • Emilie’s Tip: try a good quality brand cheese. White cheddar & muenster are both known for their probiotic qualities, so let the little ones try them both. If they are picky – avoid letting them see the package before their first taste!
  • Kid Approved Energy bites for cookies. You can try making energy bites with peanut butter, honey, oats, chocolate chips, chia seeds…anything you want!
  • Peanut butter/banana or honey sandwich for peanut butter/jelly sandwich
    • Emilie’s Tip: Snag the small packets of different nut butters & have your kiddos sample the different flavors. Cashew butter is a creamy treat and sunflower butter is super decadent & sweet, while almond butter is a bit more savory. Kids LOVE to make their own choices!

Food swaps are a simple thing that can make a big difference when it comes to the nutrients your family is getting. Go back to the basics and build from there.

Balanced diet nutrition keto concept. Assortment of healthy ketogenic low carb food ingredients for cooking on a kitchen table. Green vegetables, meat, salmon, cheese, eggs

Kids in the Kitchen

There are so many ways your whole family can be involved in the kitchen.  Try out some of these tips for this week and see how easy it can be! Since children need guidance when they learn new activities with your kids in the kitchen, Try the I do. We do. You do. approach.

Use All 5 Senses

  • When all our senses are engaged, we are naturally more mindful
    • (Emilie’s Tip) Let your little ones interact with individual ingredients. Put salt in their hand and ask how it FEELS. They can even put a little bit on their tongue to explore the taste & texture.

Exercising Your Kiddo’s Fine Motor Skills

  • Next time you chop, pour, stir, flip, etc.. think about all the muscles you are using to do these tasks. For kids, when they complete these tasks it helps build those muscles they use for writing, cutting, independently opening a bag of chips at school, or picking up or holding something. For the little ones, let them help you stir or arrange food on a baking sheet. The Dollar Tree has tons of kid friendly kitchen utensils!

Math and Science in the Kitchen

  • Cooking is a great way to practice measuring, weighing, cooking time, converting temperature, changing quantities, and the reaction certain ingredients can have with each other to create something delicious and mesmerizing. Cooking can make learning fun!

Get Creative with Choices

  • (Emilie’s Tip) Kids feel creative when their empowered to make choices! When I work with kids, I give them freedom to make up their own smoothie recipes and THEY LOVE IT. Give several ingredient options (nut butters, fruit, even cacao powder!) and make a rule – like their recipe must contain at least 1/4 cup of a veggie (spinach and cauliflower are my go-tos). They get to pick the quantities for everything else! They learn soooooo much about what they like/don’t like.

Happy cooking! Let us know if you try any of these great swaps or tips from Emilie and Laura. We’d love to hear how it goes!