The benefits to getting your picky-eating toddler in the kitchen!
Cooking with your little one can be so much fun and can help with picky eating! Having your child even in the kitchen while you are cutting veggies, fruits or making toast is a GREAT way to introduce them to new foods and give them a no-pressure look at what you are making! Kids in the kitchen get to SEE, SMELL, and TOUCH their food. It is a great time to label foods, actions (stir, cut, eat, cook, flip), talk about simple sequences (first cut, then cook), and kitchen safety (hot, sharp, adult-only)!
Here are some simple steps to get your toddler in the kitchen!
- Place your toddler in the kitchen with you! Booster seats or step stools are great for little ones to see what is happening on the counter. You can give your little one pretend food to “practice” with you if you are using heat or sharp knives. Talk about what you are making, the ingredients and the steps!
- Get little ones involved! Help your child make their snack plate, let them place foods onto plates and bowls to carry to the table. Give them a spoon to help you stir batters, butter knives to make toast or sandwiches, or place different fruits and veggies into your blender to make a smoothie!
- Start with something FUN and PREFERRED! Your picky eater likes anything tan? Try making toast together and getting out multiple spreads to try! Kids are much more likely to try something when they feel in control. If they get to choose the topping or help spread it on the toast, it may be more rewarding to eat. Cooking is great for experimenting and trying new things! Box brownies or cookies are great for cooking with toddlers! They usually require few ingredients and you can place each ingredient in a bowl for your toddler to pour into the big bowl and help you stir.
- Keep it simple! Your toddler likely does not yet have the attention to watch you make a gourmet meal, but may have the attention to make a snack or a simple pasta dish. Keep it simple so you and your toddler can enjoy your time together.
- Give choices! Let your child take some control with cooking! Deciding what kind of sandwich, pick the dip for veggies, or decide on fruits and veggies for smoothies! Cookie cutters are a fun way to change the shapes of sandwiches, jello, rice crispies or even sliced veggies!
Some fun, kid friendly recipes are below!
English Muffin Pizzas: http://acraftyspoonful.com/english-muffin-pizzas-simple-toddler-meals/
Ice Cream in a Bag: http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/07/summer-fun-ice-cream-in-bag.html?m=1
Trail Mix: http://www.bsuperb.com/toddler-trail-mix/
Actor Misha Collins shares his adventures cooking with his son: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3pjP79-sJc
Jessie Delos Reyes, MA, CCC-SLP