Cooking with children is a way of offering them a different environment in which to be in contact with food. Depending on their age, children are fascinated with what happens in the kitchen, where those wonderful dishes come from that appear on the table as if by magic. That is why, if they are interested, they can be introduced to the kitchen from an early age.
1- It is important that children know the origin of the dishes. A visit to the market to recognize the vegetables we use on a daily basis, to the butcher to observe the pieces or to the fishmonger to see different species of fish is fascinating for them. Sometimes some children are unaware that meat comes from animals or that chickens lay eggs. Some are unable to differentiate chicken meat from pork or beef, even fish if it is in batter, everything is the same.
2- The fact is not that we have to teach them to cook or that they have to know the culinary techniques we use, simply by allowing them to observe the steps we follow when preparing a dish, it is easy to they feel included and eager to taste the result. We can take a small risk if we have a problem child when it comes to eating some foods and we have used the tactic of hiding them on their plates. The child may decide not to eat what we have cooked if he sees us add any of them, or, on the contrary, he may be attracted to being a participant in its preparation, and change his mind. Although it is useful to get them to eat certain foods, especially vegetables, to mask them, shred them, or disguise them in food, this system only works temporarily. There comes a time when it is necessary for the child himself to voluntarily and consciously agree to eat the food, and introducing them to the kitchen can be interesting.
3- On the other hand, allow them to taste food one by one, for example, when we are preparing a vegetable cream and before grinding them can help them identify and distinguish flavors. Not even adults like all flavors, so it is good for children to learn to identify which ones they like and which ones they don't, something that when mixed and crushed is complicated. It will be necessary to taste the food in question on more than one occasion to make the decision, and, as parents, we must respect these decisions as much as possible. It is not the same as a child not liking broccoli and peas after trying them half a dozen times, as refusing to even taste a bite of any green food.
4- On many occasions, inviting them to participate in the purchase and preparation of the usual dishes has a fantastic effect on establishing good eating habits, obviously, if the usual menus in our home are healthy and balanced.
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