Teaching your children to make meals at home is a great step towards getting them to eat what you cook, moms will tell you. Once the kids have the experience of putting a recipe together and seeing the results, they'll be more inclined to eat. This is true, even for picky eaters. Better yet is teaching a bunch of kids together, and having them eat what they make.
It's good to start with simple things, especially if they are very young. An activity as simple as making popsicles can teach your children the value of making food from scratch with ingredients available in the cupboard, instead of always purchasing items at the store. Here are a few simple recipes you can try at home with your budding young chefs.
What you'll need: fudge sticks, plastic popsicle maker, fruits and juice. (Note that you don't have to buy popsicle makers, you can use small cups, cover them with foil, and cut a space to insert the fudge sticks).
Directions: Use whatever juice your child likes. An idea is to get whatever fruit is in season and blend it to make juice. After you have your juice, pour it in the popsicle maker or the cup, and add fruit. Put fudge sticks in the middle and freeze overnight for a great summer treat.
*Note that this is also a great way to get vegetables your child won't eat into his diet. Blend cucumbers and carrots, for example, sweeten with honey, and freeze.
Otaheite apples are in good supply now, and if you have a lot, making applesauce is a great idea. It will taste even better than the American apple version.
What you'll need: Apples, cinnamon, sugar, water.
Directions: Combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon in a pan (add ingredients to suit your taste). Cover, then cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Allow it to cool, then mash and serve.
Tuna is a favourite for sandwiches, but if you want to mix things up, you can make a tuna salad that your child will love.
What you'll need: Can of tuna, mayonnaise, pasta, your choice of vegetables, raisins.
Directions: Boil the pasta, drain. Mix together tuna and your other ingredients -- these can include relish, apple cuts, dried cranberries or whatever else your child likes to eat. Mix in pasta and add mayonnaise.
*A great idea is to use coloured pasta or pasta in cartoon shapes. These add a fun dimension to the meal.
Pancakes don't have to be dull, boring or fattening.
What you'll need: pancake mix, choice of fruits, food colouring.
Directions: Prepare pancake batter as directed. Add fruits -- cherries, raisins, pinaepple etc. Add your choice of food colouring and fry as directed.
*Your child will like the exciting colours, as well as the surprises of the fruit. To make the meal less fattening ditch the butter, go light on the syrup, or better yet, make your own pancake syrup.