Children learn at an early age that while most of their life is controlled by an adult they can make some decisions about what they eat. Refusing to eat a lovingly prepared meal until the parent reaches for the packaged snacks and junk food gives them a sense of control. It may well be that the dinner would have been enjoyed but it wasn’t their decision.
Cooking together is not a chore. It shows you trust your children as they can perform tasks that go towards a final outcome that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Keep it Simple
Cooking family meals together doesn’t need to be complicated. Choose dishes that most of the family already know and enjoy but tailor the meal to exactly what your family would prefer. For example, if peas go down well then add them to Spaghetti Bolognaise. If sweetcorn or mushrooms are preferred then add them instead. Of course, it’s also much easier to know the salt content of a meal if you have prepared it at home.
Don’t Worry About It
We all have to eat everyday so don’t worry if a meal doesn’t work out the way you hoped. My daughter and I have certainly cooked meals that we wouldn’t do again but we didn’t know that without trying.
If you don’t buy the unhealthy snacks then they are not in the house for temptation so shop together for the ingredients to make proper meals. Yes, you could buy a prepared lasagne but as we’ve seen in the news lately you don’t always know what the real ingredients are so it’s better to make your own.
Spend longer choosing fruit and vegetables and if the kids pick up something and ask what it is and you don’t know then find out and see what you can do with it for dinner that day. Get your children involved from an early age in choosing and preparing fruit and vegetables and make enjoying healthy food together completely normal. Making a fruit salad is one of the best ways to involve even very young children as they can cut fruit with plastic knives so it’s totally safe but they can create something their parents can enjoy with them for dessert or for breakfast.
Picky Eaters Are Not Healthy Eaters
Allowing your children to become picky eaters – maybe knowing you’re one too – is not great for their future health. Why let them miss out on trying new tastes just because you’re unsure? Go on, experiment together.