At Modern Family Food we're down-to-earth, relaxed and realistic. We're not preaching, we're just trying to eat a little better ourselves, stepping away from excess processed food, salt and sugar whilst getting our kids cooking with us as much as possible. Here are a few tips that helped us get there.
Making pasta isn't rocket science. All you need are flour, eggs + a little helper to roll it out like playdough. But if you're stuck in a rut, making the same kid-safe meals on repeat, then cooking is a great way to try something new. And if you're making from scratch, you're saving money while avoiding preservatives + wasteful ready-meal packaging.
Think your kid won't eat cos lettuce or courgettes? They might surprise you if they've had a hand in cooking it themselves. And persist even if they refuse certain foods initially. Feeding them plenty of veggies now gives them the best chance of developing long-term healthy eating habits.
If a margarita's made with a bit of love it needn't look like an emoticon to raise a smile from a six year-old. Step away from the idea of separate kids' food. Cook one proper meal that makes you all happy and watch your children become less distrustful of 'grown-up food' as these meals become the norm. Otherwise they'll just hold out for fishfingers instead.
Kids love getting dirt under their fingernails. Have a go at planting something, even if it's only a pot of basil on a sunny windowsill. They'll dig being in touch with food at its source, Jack and the beanstalk-style.
Teach your kids to cook safely: no running//wash your hands before you begin and after touching raw meat, raw eggs or fish//tidy up as you go along// read the whole recipe before you begin. And please use common-sense: these recipes are for children but they are meant to be cooked under full adult supervision. Never leave them unattended near a sharp blade or hot oven.
Whether they're colouring in or doing their spellings homework, never miss a chance to talk about healthy eating. In fact, make teaching your kids about food *as* important as that homework. Kids are born curious, learn quickly + love helping. Cooking with them develops skills, and makes memories, that last a lifetime.
Kids of all ages can join in with our recipes. Go at their pace and as they're able to do more, let them. Always supervise and give them tasks you know they can manage to boost their confidence. It doesn't matter if they can't complete every stage of a recipe independently. Let them watch while you chop and slice - they'll automatically learn from you.
Our recipes emphasise savoury over sweet. Sure many kids start off making cakes but why not salad dressings too? You and your growing children need access-all-areas nutrition so although we've prioritised healthy eating, we've avoided faddy healthfoods, staying balanced and suggesting healthy ingredient switches without preaching or compensating on flavour. After all, we all like a slice of cake sometimes.
Cooking with your kids will be messier and more time-consuming. Accept this before you start and avoid doing it if you're all overtired - unless you want a lot of crying over spilt milk. Similarly, nurturing healthy eating habits takes time, too. Don't write your child off as fussy. Most kids go through phases – just ensure there's always something they enjoy on their plates and keep offering healthy foods with all the patience you can muster.