March Break is coming up fast, and one of the best ways to keep kids busy while they’re off school is to bring them into the kitchen. M&M Food Market’s Derry-Anne Perog is the company’s head of food innovation and a mom of two. She’s a Master of March Break and has helpful tips for parents to include kids in the fun of food preparation.
For the little ones:
• Get “hands on” at mealtime: Get kids excited about what they’re eating by involving them in building their meal. Try easier tasks, such as breaking up fresh parsley or cilantro, or washing and safely chopping ingredients.
• Pizza night: While pizza is a go-to kid-friendly meal, it’s also one of the easiest ways to spark some creativity at dinner time. Choosing toppings adds a new twist to the classic pizza night that your kids are sure to love.
• Add your own veggies: One of the best ways to get your picky eaters to try something new is by adding ingredients to something they already love. Let them choose, chop and add in the veggies they usually detest to a meal they already love. They’re more likely to eat a meal they’ve helped prepare.
For tweens and teens:
• The art of the sandwich: Instead of ham and cheese, why not challenge your older kids to create a new, more sophisticated favourite? Provide them with different ingredients, so they can try something new and create their own masterpiece in the kitchen.
• Stove-top it up: Reading a recipe, following instructions and seeing it all come together is a great way to help your kids understand what makes a good meal and improve their culinary skills, from start to finish.
Other benefits to quality time in the kitchen:
According to Canada’s Food Guide, there are many long-term benefits associated with time spent in the kitchen, including:
• nurturing healthy eating habits
• increasing self-confidence
• encouraging picky eaters to try the foods they’ve helped prepare
• developing skills like counting, following instructions and cooperation