Picture this- grandparents, parents and youngsters preparing a meal together and discussing family secret recipes passed from one generation to the next. Sounds like a lost art in today’s urban Indian household. In modern times, it's quite hard for parents with hectic schedules to check their kids' homework, let alone teach them healthy cooking. After all who has the extra time and patience, but many experts think healthy cooking with children is well worth the effort.
According to an American Heart Association’s report overweight problems in kids can be dealt by involving children in meal planning, shopping, and healthy cooking. Teaching kids how to cook and appreciate healthy food also reduces the number of meals they eat outside, and when they do - they opt for healthier, low-calorie foods. Such kids also enjoy well-structured meal times at home.
In the short term, teaching your kids how to cook healthy will increase their confidence in healthy foods and they will be more likely to join in for family meal preparations. Cooking is also a wonderful activity to open communication lines between kids and parents. Kids tend to avoid junk food when they're cooking a meal at home with their parents.
In the long term, healthy cooking with your kids will set your kids up for lifelong healthy eating habits. And kids who eat healthy at a young age tend to eat healthy as adults. Some studies have proposed that cooking together helps in establishing a bond between parent and children.
How to Start Cooking With Children. Of course it's never a good idea to give a young kid sharp objects like knives! How, then, can they help around the kitchen? Think breakfast. Not only is a healthy breakfast the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, but it also doesn't include too much chopping, cutting etc. Butter the toasts, pour out the cereal, peel the fruits, pour the milk, breakfast is full of small chores that should be second nature come morning. Opt for healthy options such as high-fiber and nutrient-rich whole grains, fruits, and dairy products. Hard pressed for time in the morning? Try cooking breakfast with them on the weekends. Or may be during their summer holidays.
Once you've got a certain momentum going with healthy breakfast cooking each morning, start with Sunday lunches, Friday dinners, Saturday snack-times. Whichever meal or snacks your family gather for, should be catered to by the entire family. Set aside healthy munchies for meal prep time as well. Teach your child simple meal recipes that they can rely on when you're not around. Once they get they get the hang of it, who knows, they might even enjoy helping you around the house.
Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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