A recent study of parents and their 6-10 year old children found that involving kids in meal preparation promotes healthy eating habits, specifically by increasing vegetable intake (Van der Horst et al, 2014). It also promotes a positive emotional response by supporting the child’s autonomy in the kitchen and allowing kids to form a personal connection to the meal and its component ingredients. Evidence from this study suggests that as children grow, it is important to engage with them in the kitchen in order to promote positive food experiences that fuel their independence, self-pride, and personal responsibility for good nutrition. With parental supervision, youths can learn important kitchen safety tips when using knives, stovetops and ovens. The following recipe, the classic bean burrito, was provided by Sargent Choice Nutrition Center of Boston University and has been described as a hit among non-vegetarians and vegetarians alike. It packs a one-two punch by wrapping a whole grain tortilla around a colorful variety of veggies and legumes, topped off by a tasty combination of herbs and spices. Prepare it for dinner this week with your kids! The payback will be a fun shared experience and a delicious meat-free meal.
For more resources for featuring fresh vegetables click here!
Paula A. Quatromoni, Boston University
Van der Horst K, Ferrage A, Rytz A. Involving children in meal preparation. Effects on food intake. Appetite, 2014;79:18–24.