A Key To Healthy Eating: Cook TogetherThu 09 May 2013
Story by Jennifer Tyler Lee
Cooking together is one of the keys to eating healthy as a family. But the pressures of a hectic life can easily get in the way. The secret: simplify!
Inviting kids into the kitchen, to cook together with us, is one of the keys to eating healthy. Kids who prepare their own food are much more likely to enjoy that healthy food. But as a busy family, how do you work cooking together into your jam-packed schedule? Cooking with your kids is messier, slower, and in some cases more stressful than just doing it yourself.
I know those arguments. I used to make them.
But a small investment in learning to cook together as a family can pay substantial dividends. When my family first started cooking together the process was more time consuming, to be sure. But as my kids learned, and I learned, we began to find our groove. Our collective desire to take on more climbed along with the capability of our growing team. Stress levels began to sink. Now, instead of being shooed into the other room, my kids peel and chop right alongside my husband and me. Together, we cook.
The secret for our family has been to make it easy – both in terms of ingredients and recipes. To be clear, I’m not talking about making it easy by supplementing family meals with foods from a box or bag, or involving the beep, beep, and buzz of a microwave. Ease comes from using fresh, whole foods prepared in the simplest of ways.
Our 52 New Foods challenge led us to several of these simple ingredients this month: mango, jicama, radicchio and avocado. We had fun eating our colors at our rainbow salad bar, sampling a symphony of flavors with an array of mango salsa recipes, and experimenting with avocado a few different ways. We brought it all together with a festive, family Taco Night!
One simple theme ties all of these recipes together: simplicity. Recipes so simple that all you need is a cutting board, knife, bowl, and bake sheet, along with a healthy dose of creativity. Because one of the most enjoyable parts of cooking together is experimenting to find the right mix for your family. Like any treasured recipe, the key is to make it your own.
About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color – award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color and Jennifer’s 52 New Foods adventure has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray’s Yum-O, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, Yum Food & Fun For Kids, and Edible Silicon Valley, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.
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