Living the Paleo lifestyle can deliver a lot of rewards for you and your family. Eating clean, wholesome foods instead of processed foods, grains and refined sugar reduces your risk of contracting chronic diseases. This approach to healthy eating also strengthens your immune system, which means you’re less likely to become sick, and your mental health enjoys a boost alongside your physical well-being.
Rather than taking on all the Paleo cooking chores yourself, why not get your kids involved?
Even if you have young preschool children, there are plenty of tasks they can help you with in the kitchen. Studies show this not only increases the odds that your kids will embrace a Paleo diet but there are other significant rewards to be earned. Children who are introduced to kitchen tasks and cooking activities early on show better than average abilities in math, language skills and emotional development.
Reduce the Hesitancy to Try New Foods
Additionally, kids that are entrusted with kitchen prep and cooking tasks are more likely to try new foods than if they didn’t help in the Paleo cooking process. They spend more time around the food you want them to eat. They become familiar with healthy food before it appears on their plates, and this can reduce the fear or anxiety children often experience when they are introduced to food they are unfamiliar with.
You can also help with your child’s physical development by letting them join you and your Paleo kitchen. Especially with younger children, food prep and cooking activities like chopping and mixing, spreading and squeezing improve eye-hand coordination and motor skill development. Aside from helping you save time in the kitchen, these activities help your child grow physically, and this can boost self-esteem.
Your child develops a sense of accomplishment. He sees himself performing grown-up, adult tasks, and this makes him feel good about himself. This means physical development is accompanied by a well-earned sense of pride. Learning new words and phrases that relate to meal prep, cleaning and cooking in the kitchen improves your child’s language skills, and asking for their input in meal choices shows them you trust and value their opinions.
Cooking Boosts Creativity and Problem-Solving
Time spent in the kitchen helps your child’s cognitive development because there are times when problems will pop up. You don’t have enough of the required ingredients, so you have to make do with what you have. When recipes have to be tweaked and the meal turns out fine, this gives your child the courage to solve problems and think creatively, and not just in the kitchen.
Plan meal prep and cooking chores appropriately. Up until your child is 18 to 24 months old, simply having them in the kitchen with you can ensure they will feel comfortable assisting in your kitchen chores when they are older. From 18 months to 36 months, children can help rinse and scrub produce or mash vegetables. Preschoolers 4 or 5 years old can spread butter, set a timer, and measure dry ingredients.
As your children get older, entrust them with more difficult Paleo cooking chores. You should eventually let your older children plan, prepare, cook and serve an entire meal. This improves the chances of your child adopting your healthy eating practices as an adult and helps your child grow emotionally, physically and mentally in so many ways.