My mommy friends and I are always talking about food. Specifically, the food our toddlers eat and refuse to eat. Aside from the obvious frustration and disbelief you experience as you watch each item of your lovingly prepared meal fly through the air, the feeling of fear may also begin to clutch your heart. You think about how much energy your little tyke expended throughout the day and how their little bodies need nutrients to grow and develop healthily. Do not despair, parents, there is a perfect solution that both you and your fussy eater will love! You are going to teach your toddler how to cook!
Step One: Create a Plan
I love a good plan and despite how it may seem, toddlers love a plan, too. This is the stage where you build excitement about the magic that is soon to take place in your very own kitchen. You may have a family book of recipes or a fabulous Pinterest board to pull from, and these are great places to start.
You can also show your recipe book or favorite foodie magazine to your fussy eater and ask them to help you find ideas. I love doing this because it breaks up the monotony of cooking the same old things over and over again. Plus, if your fussy eater loves the picture, she will probably love eating the real life version even more.
Once you have your recipes chosen, it is time to head to the grocery store. Check out these tips for a successful, tantrum-free shopping trip. Explain that you are going to be getting the items you will need to cook a meal together. The grocery store can be a miraculous place filled with all kinds of sights and sounds that may delight or conversely, overwhelm your little one.
Once we arrive, I put her to work. You can give your fussy eater jobs like locating certain items, counting pieces of produce, and crossing items off the list. These tasks not only make your child feel useful, but you can also build their vocabulary by asking for things like a “red apple” or the “green grapes” or the “big, blue box.” I also encourage my daughter to touch the items we select and smell them. It becomes like a game, but you are also being productive.
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