Many moms, including stay-at-home moms, feel we aren’t spending much time with our children. Daily chores take up most of the chunk of our time and the rest is spent trying to solve problems and fights. As a healthy entrepreneur coach, I believe that a good way to spend time with kids is to involve them in chores. It’s a good idea to get them involved if they like cooking or are eager to shell those peas. Here are some of my tips to get started on meal planning with kids:
1. Plan Together
Ask them what they like. What they don’t like. Talk to them about nutrition and healthy food. Kids would be more interested in meal planning if you make foods that they like eating. If they insist on having cake, add some good old zucchini to it or even beetroot. My son wouldn’t touch bananas or even banana smoothies, so banana bread it was.
Take input from the entire family. If you have a big family, allow everyone to choose the main dish each day of the week.
2. Educate them
Planning together is also a good way to educate them about healthy eating. Your child probably doesn’t know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When you sit with your child to plan meals for the coming week, you consciously or unconsciously pass out information that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Go over the entire cooking method with them. What goes first? How many tomatoes? Why garlic? This will help in their memory development skills. This will understand the cooking process and how something whole is made up of parts. And kids like to ask a lot of questions. This way both of you will probably learn some lessons on nutrition and healthy eating. If you don’t know it, Google it!
3. Wash, Cut and Prepare it Together
If you like to prepare your vegetables beforehand, put them to work after those grocery trips. Ask them to wash the vegetables, while you get to the cutting and storing. Kids are more willing to try out food that they helped prepare. It also makes them feel useful. With positive feedback, this helps develop confidence in doing all kinds of tasks.
4. Include Meals that your child can own up to
Younger children can probably only help in the mixing but once kids get older than 12, they can make scrambled eggs, smoothies, and other easy recipes. Add sides to complicated dinner meals. Make a salad. Precut the vegetables and ask your child to mix them. On the table, they can declare the dish as their own.
5. Teach them to clean those spills
The fun doesn’t have to end with getting the dish on the table. Ask them to help set the table, clean up the table and even the kitchen while preparing the dish. If you just let them do the fun tasks, you’ll be thinking, ‘I’ll just do it myself’ at the end of the week.
6. Delegate Tasks
Start easy. Don’t ask them to prepare the soup or clean the kitchen. Break up the tasks. Even if you ask them to prepare the pasta, cut up the process into tasks. Wash the fruit, de-seed the tomatoes, beat eggs, and even boil the pasta. Choose some age-appropriate kitchen tasks.
7. Relax, have Fun
Don’t forget to have fun. The idea of involving your kids in the meal making process is to bond with them and find time for each other without ignoring your home. Don’t fret about the mess.
Clean it up together.
Believe me, Meal planning with kids isn’t half as bad as you probably have imagined. As a Healthy Entrepreneur Coach, I believe that kids should step in the kitchen at an early age to teach them ownership and responsibility.