As a busy mom of two young children, I know how important it is to spend quality time with them. I also know that it can also be difficult and challenging. That's why I love cooking, baking and spending time in the kitchen with my children. It all started when they were old enough to safely sit on the kitchen counter and help me stir and measure.
It's important to teach your children how to cook and to have a love for healthy foods at a very young age. My children are 8 and 11 and will eat anything, well almost anything. My daughter loves raw spinach in salad but she hates cooked spinach. My son hates raw cauliflower but he loves it steamed! Funny how that works.
Here are a few tips for cooking healthy meals with your children:
1) VEGGIES! My children aren't picky eaters but I know many children are. Shredded veggies can be hidden and added to anything from spaghetti to hamburger patties. Trust me, your children, and even your husband, will have no idea they are there.
2) APPLESAUCE! Instead of adding oil and butter into your cake and brownie mixes, add applesauce instead. It leaves them super moist and delicious with fewer fat and calories. It's also great on sandwiches, my children love peanut butter and applesauce sandwiches!
3) MAKE IT FUN! Create a funny face with fruit slices and dip. Use cookie cutters to create fun shapes for bite-sized sandwiches, meat and cheese.
4) CHOICES! Always let your child have a choice. I ask my children every single day, every meal... "would you like this or this?" By giving them the choice, they feel like they are in control and that their opinion matters. Even though they are choosing between two healthy options, they still get a vote.
I honestly think that my children are such great eaters because they have always been involved with preparing their meals. From the kitchen to the dinner table, cooking food together with your children is a great way to bond and create memories that will last a lifetime!
Do you have children between the ages of 5 and 12? If so, Uncle Ben's is looking for you!
To empower and encourage parents to connect with their kids, one meal at a time, Uncle Ben’s has launched an exciting national contest called Ben’s Beginners! By entering the contest, you could win $20,000 and a $50,000 grant towards an amazing makeover for your child’s school cafeteria. Plus, you will have the chance to appear on The Rachael Ray show! All you have to do is submit a short 2-3 minute video of you cooking a rice inspired meal or dish with your child. Contest ends 2/26/2012.
About Uncle Ben’s
Uncle Ben’s®, the number one rice brand in America, is proud to offer a wide range of rice dishes with flavors and textures that will help bring more to your meals, both for convenient side dishes and savory main courses. Uncle Ben’s® offers a wide variety of white, whole grain brown, and flavored rices in cook times ranging from 30 minutes to 90 seconds, as well as rice for food service operations such as restaurants, schools and hospitals. The first mass-produced parboiled rice, Uncle Ben’s® is the top-selling branded rice in the United States and products can be found in more than 100 countries worldwide. Uncle Ben’s® Brand products are manufactured by Mars Food NA, part of Mars, Incorporated.
**I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Uncle Ben’s blogging program, for 6,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points.