Allowing and encouraging kids to assist with food preparation can be a great way to expose them to unfamiliar and unpopular (but nutritious) foods. Try enlisting their help with basic work, without the pressure of expected consumption! Many young children may be thrilled to lend a hand with a “grown-up job”, and realize spinach is not so scary in the process.
- Fresh squeezed (by little hands) orange juice: cut oranges in half, and provide children with wooden spoons, manual or hand-held juicer tools, or other safe kitchen implements, and allow them to build up their muscles extracting the juice!
- Let us help with the lettuce: after washing salad greens, allowkids (with clean hands) to tear leaves of leaf lettuce, romaine, spinach and other great greens into pieces right into the salad bowl. Getting up to their elbows in nutrient-dense green leaves cannot be a bad thing!
- Nutritious nutcracking: Purchase in-shell mixed nuts, and allow children to explore the different shapes, textures and sizes of the encased nuts. Have some shelled nuts ready too, and encourage kids to try to identify which nuts come from each different kind of shell before you open them. Show them how to crack the shells, and allow them to attempt the hard work (like a squirrel!) of getting the nutmeats out of their shells! Eat raw, or toast in the oven for use in recipes and snacks.