7 Ways To Get Kids Involved In Meal Prep
We all know that getting food on the table after a long day at work and a day full of school activities can be overwhelming. This is especially true when you have children who are picky eaters or like different foods.
My kids were excellent eaters. I had absolutely no complaints except one of my sons went through a weird ‘Purple’ phase. He decided he wanted his food to be purple too, so I often served him purple grape juice and grape jelly for the toast. Of course, he then wanted all of his food to be purple. Believe me, I know it’s terrible. DONT JUDGE ME, but I had to use purple food color to make his spaghetti purple and all sorts of odd food purple. I just had to do anything to get him to eat! Even his birthday cake was of Barney, the purple dinosaur. I am so glad that was just a brief period.
So, I understand how parents with picky eaters feel- overwhelmed and underappreciated!
One incredible way to help your children become better eaters is to get them involved in preparing the meal. There are many ways to get your children involved that are fun, easy, and make cooking a family activity. I am all for helping young children build good habits with food and teaching them about eating fresh, healthy food.
Think of meal prep as a fun family activity.
If you are relaxed, your children will learn from you that meal prep is fun, easy, and enjoyable. Maybe play music in the background and talk about your day. You can also engage with your children by asking them questions about what goes on in school or with their friends. Also, remember that this is a perfect opportunity to teach kids about food safety and how different vegetables and fruits are important for our health!
Here are seven suggestions you must try to get your children involved in meal prep.
- Choose the Meals For the Week Together
Set up a weekly family meeting to discuss the menu for the week and write down the grocery list. Allowing your kids to play a part in choosing the menu for the week. It will help them get excited about the meals you cook. A good time could be Saturday morning so you could have time to complete the shopping and prepare the food for the week.
- Let them Help Create Balanced Meals
When creating healthy meals, you always want the meal to be balanced with protein, carbs, and vegetables. Break down the meal into different parts and let them know what type of meat you will cook. For example, chicken, beef, or fish, and eggs for protein. You can even ask them how they would like them cooked, grilled, or baked. Then let them select one or two vegetables and carbs. Try to aim for wholegrain, rice, or potatoes for healthier options.
- Teach Your Children About Healthy Snacks
Discuss snacks as part of the meal prep time. Teach them about choosing healthy snacks. Give the kids options of sliced apples and peanut butter, vegetable sticks, fresh fruits, and some nuts, and offer as many fresh, whole foods as you can. Making suggestions and allowing them to voice their opinion is a part of the process.
- Have Them Write the Grocery List
Letting your children write the shopping list is an excellent time to practice writing skills. They can ask you how to spell certain words and even practice reading them in the grocery store. Once you have finished shopping, they can even help with washing, drying the vegetables, and storing them. Remember, meal prep can be a perfect teaching opportunity, so use it to the fullest.
- Teach Them To Measure Ingredients
Now that you have learned grocery shopping can be an English lesson, you can also use cooking to help teach math! Let your children measure ingredients with measuring cups and spoons, and count out specific items you need. For example, you can have them hand you the correct amount of potatoes you will need for a recipe. You can also take the time to teach your children how to prepare food for a recipe. They may make a mess, but try to be patient and know they are still learning.
- Have Your Children Put Away The Leftovers
You can also teach your children what to do with leftovers and the importance of not wasting food. Allow your kids to put food in containers. Teach them to allow the food to come to room temperature before storing it. Putting away food is easy for them to handle, and it can be fun for them too. You can also have them create labels, so you know when the food was made.
- Give Them Specific Tasks And Instructions
Have clear assignments for your kids and tell them exactly what to do so they don’t get confused. You can have one kid help set up the table and the other help clean up after the meal is finished. Having them each do separate tasks can also help avoid arguments. Just make sure to give them different tasks so that they don’t get bored.
Always consider your children’s age when you involve them in meal prep.
At different ages, the kids have varying levels of engagement for meal prep. For instance, a five-year-old can take the sliced bread off the bag and spread peanut butter on the bread. A ten-year-old can cut soft vegetables and set up the table. Remember that children get bored quickly, so keep their tasks quick and easy. Do you have any tips that will help other parents? Don’t forget to leave them in the comment section.
Hi, I’m Rana and I blog at ranasrecipe.com. My passion for food began very early in my life. And after managing a cafe, a granola business and helping other food businesses scale up, I found my true calling in creating wonderful recipes so that everyone can enjoy cooking as much as I do! Don’t forget to follow me on my social channels- instagram and pinterest.