Not exactly what you'd expect to hear a mommy saying, is it? But involving kids in food is so fun that sometimes you just have to play.
We play with our foods in all different ways around here, and for all different reasons, too. I mean, you have no idea how much cookie cutters "improve" the taste of lunch. On those days when little miss is a bit apathetic about our lunch options, cookie cutters make all the difference. She will devour any sandwich (or today's quesadillas) with no complaints as long as she can pick a shape. And I don't mean she'll just eat the shape - she'll eat the whole "outside," too. Thank goodness for our bucket of 100 cookie cutters.
We also like to be hands on with our food. Literally. I definitely believe that involving kids in food decisions and preparation helps kids appreciate a wider variety of foods. Sometimes this is a very messy proposition, like when we made homemade gnocchi last week and little miss helped me knead the dough, but I tell you - she always tastes what she has a hand in making, and is always very proud to tell people that she helped to make whatever is being served.
Cooking, or pretending to cook, is also a great way for me to keep little miss occupied when I need a couple minutes to do some of those chores and tasks that little "helping" hands are a little less helpful with... Today little miss measured, mixed and cooked soup using only water, various utensils and lots of imagination while I did all of the dishes and wiping up from our breakfast and bread-baking activities this morning. I love hearing her talk about what she is doing as she is doing it, too - "I need a little oregano, mommy!" and "And now I add a half a cup of yeast!" It is always so amusing to hear what she picks up, what combinations she thinks of, and how she imitates what she sees me doing. Fun for both of us!
And I think she enjoys sharing her love of food, too. I mean, when it was her turn to take the classroom monkey home from school, she made sure it was well fed, with a place set at every meal, the entire time it was with us.
So play with your food, and let your kids do the same. The results are so worth it.
2 weeks ago