There’s a big pile of dishes waiting for me in the kitchen. It was spaghetti night.
It’s. A. Mess. I’m procrastinating by watching Jimmy Fallon.
My husband is currently shooting me dirty looks as if to say “Well??? When are you going to get in there and clean them?” He hates a mess-especially a food or dishes mess.
(In his defense, he did offer to help me clean).
I’m okay with a mess. In actuality, I encourage it, especially when it comes to kids in the kitchen.
When parents ask me “how do I get my kids to eat?”, the first thing I ask them is “do you let them help in the kitchen?” I’m often met with scrunched up noses and a shake of the head.
Here’s the deal.
We know that kids who help in the kitchen are more likely to:
- Try new foods
- Build heathy eating habits
- Sit down to a family meal because they help prepare it
- Eat healthier foods and less Eat less junk food
- Build self confidence through positive cooking experiences
- And, they learn a skill that they can use for the rest of their lives that will help keep them healthy.
Really, there’s no downside to it. Except the mess.
In the last 24 hours, our family has managed to make the following messes:
- We squeezed a good 1/4-1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice all over the counter in an attempt to measure out 2 Tablespoons.
- We stuck french fries on top of his hamburger bun to make a “spider”.
- We rolled grapes in Parmesan cheese.
- We squirted and then ate 8 cherry tomatoes after previously refusing them for the last year.
A few weeks ago, our friend Avery (who qualifies as a ”picky eater") came over to play with food. Avery had never touched, much less peeled a Cutie nor had she squeezed her own orange juice. She hadn't touched most of the ingredients in our trail mix experience, either. Needless to say, feeding Avery has been a struggle. Her mother was shocked and encouraged when she saw these photos-mostly because she could see how much fun she was having by just playing with food. Just look at that smile.