Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Little Ones in the Kitchen

Part of livin' a lean lifestyle is about sharing what you know with others. In this case, we are talking about the children in our lives. Be it a son, daughter, niece, nephew or grandchild, perhaps even a friend's child; there is an opportunity each and every time we cook to share the importance of healthy, home cooking.

My daughter is two and already a very active participant in the kitchen. She truly is my little helper. When I start to gather things together for cookin' time, I hear this sweet voice say, "I wanna cook! I can cook?" That just warms my heart. Not only are we having valuable mommy-daughter time (my favorite), but my daughter is also learning about different foods, experiencing new flavors, observing and practicing various cooking techniques and most importantly,  learning about kitchen safety. It really is a great time for everyone! If you have little ones around, I really encourage you to try easing them into the cookin' scene...if you aren't doing it already. They will love it!

Here are some great ways to get your little ones involved in a safe, fun way!~

* Stir it up!~ Stirring cold or dry ingredients is a great way to really get the children involved. For the older ones, introduce whisking.

* Measuring Ingredients~ How about a little math integration? Their teachers will be very impressed...and thankful for the hands-on experience.

* Washing Fruits and Vegetables~ Food safety begins with clean produce.

* Adding Ingredients~ My daughter is a little too young  to measure, but once I have it all ready, I allow her to add it. She loves to dump the dry ingredients into cookie cake batters!

* Timers~ Have a young one learning time? Have them keep track and let you know when time is up. (Example: Tell me when it is 5:35 or when the minute hand says 35 minutes past 5.)

*Put it Together or Top It Off~ Allow your children to put sandwiches together or add toppings to tacos or pizzas.

* Design Stars ~ Allow the children to decorate cakes, cookies, etc. My friend Mandy at gourmetmomonthego.com has tons of fabulous, creative ideas for kid friendly treats like these cute Butterfly Biscuits!

Have fun!



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