Is your child a picky eater? If so, Little Global Chefs says it’s your fault. Kids eat what they know, according to them, and unfortunately all your kids ever know are the same old, same old.
Little Global Chefs is comprised of businesswoman and media personality Sonia Kapadia and marketing executive Marianne Santee. They co-founded Little Global Chefs as “a platform to eradicate picky eating amongst kids.” And how do they do that? By starting with the parents.
Parents should consciously try to provide their children with a wide variety of dishes to eat, they said in an article on The Huffington Post. If you only ever alternate between a few dishes (rice and hotdog, rice and chicken nuggets, rice and friend fish, etc.), you shouldn’t get mad if one day you serve him a bowl of monggo soup and he refuses to eat it, they argue.
To strengthen their argument, they point to a The New York Times article on the breakfasts of children from all over the world. Here is an excerpt:
“The first time Saki ate the fermented soybean dish called natto, she was 7 months old. She promptly vomited. Her mother, Asaka, thinks that perhaps this was because of the smell, which is vaguely suggestive of canned cat food. But in time, the gooey beans became Saki’s favorite food and a constant part of her traditional Japanese breakfasts.”
Kids, they said, should eat whatever their parents eat; be it vegetables, seafood or fermented soybeans. And, we agree. Kids should definitely eat what everyone else is eating. Japanese grown ups eat natto so Japanese kids eat natto too. There should be no separate “kids’ meal menu” at home. If everyone else is eating talong then you shouldn’t be frying up chicken nuggets for your kid. Let him eat talong.
If your child’s a picky eater, it’s not too late. Little Global Chefs imparted this pro tip on how you can get your child to be more adventurous with food: get him in the kitchen and prepare the meals with him.
Brilliant tip! Of course, kids will eat it (or at least try it) if they had a hand in making it. Dianne Kaw, a work-at-home mom, agrees. Her 4-year-old son help her cooks their meals. “Sometimes he'll say he still doesn't like it, but to get him to try it is a success in itself,” she shared with Smart Parenting in an article.
Want to try preparing meals with the kids? Here are some tips and reminders for cooking in the kitchen with a picky eater:
1. Pick the dishes wisely. You don’t want your first dish with your child to be too complicated. You want to get comfortable with your kid helping you out in the kitchen. You also want to be able to assign him tasks and responsibilities that he can carry out without your help. This is so he’ll feel ownership to the dish. He’ll be able to say, “Hey, I made this” which can continue on to “I’ll do a taste test to make sure it’s yummy.”
2. Be consistent. It’s not enough that you cook with your child once. It’s going to take a lot more than that. Little Global Chef’s said you should at least aim for one cooking project a week. It will take effort, yes, but your commitment will pay off when you see your kid finally enjoying his bowl of halaan soup.
3. Expect the mess. Cooking is messy. With kids around, the mess quadruples. Anticipate this by having a trash receptacle ready that’s within their reach and by dressing them in clothes you won’t mind getting dirty. Learn to let go as well. The mess is inevitable. You and the kids can just have an extra lesson on cleaning up when the cooking is over.
4. Take your time. It will take longer to get the meal prepared with kids helping out in the kitchen. Block out a good amount of time for your cooking projects. If the meal is a lunch or dinner for the whole family, start earlier than you usually would.
5. Turn it into a learning opportunity. Talk to your child about the whole cooking process. Why it’s important to wash the vegetables beforehand, for example. For older kids, you can talk to them about who you learned the recipe from and what part of the Philippines or the world it originates from. Teach young kids how to pick out fresh vegetable leaves from rotten, bad ones.
6. Make use of kitchen gadgets. Make the cooking process as enjoyable as you can. One way to do that is to enlist the help of kitchen gadgets! Bring out the salad spinner and the Popsicle molds. Introduce them to the food processor and the juicer. Let young kids use the non-electronic gadgets and those without sharp blades. You can also let your child help with more advanced gadgets but always be mindful of their safety.
7. Have fun! Relax and enjoy the time you’re spending with the kids. You’re not cooking for a food critic so there’s no need to be perfect. Mistakes are absolutely okay. As long as the kids are having fun and learning a thing or two, then you’re doing great. Let the kitchen be a happy place for all involved.
Sources: Jan. 12, 2016. "It's Our Faults Our Kids Are Picky Eaters". huffingtonpost.com Undated. "Rise and Shine: What kids around the world eat for breakfast". nytimes.com Undated. "Top 10 tips for cooking with kids". bbcgoodfood.com