Ask The Expert is a weekly column on Littlestomaks.com. The idea is to have a reader-submitted question answered by a nutrition expert or a pediatrician. Feel free to submit your question in the comments section below.
Getting your little ones to help out in the kitchen can be a fun way to help them learn about food! This week, Registered Dietitian Jodi Greebel explains how it can help you raise a healthy eater and offers a few practical tips to get your toddler help you out in a safe way.
|Jodi Greebel, MS, RD
Question: How do I get my toddler involved in the kitchen? And, why should I bother?
You’re trying to put together lunch, make dinner or do something else in the kitchen and your toddler is once again climbing up your leg wanting to be picked up. How can you hold your child in one arm and do anything remotely productive in the kitchen? Getting your toddler involved in the kitchen and allowing him/her to help does wonders for your ability to get anything done while also doing wonders for what your toddler is willing to eat! It’s a win-win. The more children get involved with food, the more likely they are to eat something and/or try something new. It’s one of the best strategies for raising a child who is not a picky eater. And, it’s a lot easier to get something done when you have two free hands!
It doesn’t matter how old your child is. There is something for all different ages – just pick age appropriate tasks such as:
- Holding a rubber spatula or plastic measuring spoons
- Playing with a plastic mixing bowl and spoon
- Washing the carrots
- Spinning lettuce or other greens
- Scrubbing potatoes with a brush
- Husking corn
- Holding down the button on the blender
- Stirring ingredients in a mixing bowl while you hold the bowl
- Using a plastic knife (with adult supervision) to slice banana
- Cracking the shell on a hard-boiled egg
- Putting the lids on your plastic containers
- Counting out cherry tomatoes to put in your salad
- Mashing an avocado
- Pulling basil or sage leaves off the stem
Be creative! Give your child any task that makes them feel like they are helping out (and allows you to do what you need to get done). Many kids are just climbing up your leg because they want to see what you are doing and help out! You’ll be amazed how much more willing your toddler is to try something if he/she has helped make it.
©2010 Littlestomaks.com. All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer – Information provided in Ask The Expert column on Littlestomaks.com is intended to give you general guidance on a question related to toddler nutrition. It is not meant to be treated as medical advice. You are welcome to contact this expert for a detailed consultation on your specific situation to determine what actions, if any, you should take regarding nutrition and health of your toddlers. We do not recommend you to take any action based solely on the information presented in this column. Experts have agreed to provide their professional opinion on toddler nutrition related questions on a voluntary basis and no compensation is offered to them by Littlestomaks.com.