by Kymberlee Fajardo
Remember secretly licking a dough covered spoon while your mother removes a batch of gooey chocolate chip cookies from the oven? Or sharing a laugh at the dinner table over a giant bowl of spaghetti and meatballs? We remember the enticing fragrance of fresh baked goods calling from the kitchen window, the bright sprinkles on a giant scoop of ice cream seconds before it hits the ground, the warmth and feel of tearing apart a toasted bagel for breakfast. As children, memories are made around the dinner table, kitchen counter and backyard BBQ’s, shaping our figures and unknowingly are minds.
Let’s face it, if we enjoyed baked goods and sweets throughout our childhood with little recognition of healthy foods, we are more likely to grow up and continue eating this way. If lunch was a choice between Chef Boyardee and Lunchables and supper resembled a frozen TV dinner from the 70’s, it might take a little longer to discover what good food actually tastes like. Bad eating habits are difficult to break, but we can still learn from our parents’ mistakes by teaching our children the importance of utilizing fresh ingredients, opting for healthier alternatives while building their self-confidence and self-esteem.
When your child eats healthier, they tend to be more active, maintain a healthy body weight and make better choices when it comes to snacking. Children who lead a healthy lifestyle tend to behave better in school and apply themselves more in their studies.
Sure kids are known to create messes in kitchens and might even be reluctant to clean up after themselves, but the benefits to your child’s self-esteem are worth purchasing a few extra paper towels. When children accompany an adult in the cooking or baking process, they feel a sense of accomplishment with the final product. Imagine their excitement when classmates compliment the brownies he or she helped make for the bake sale? Not only do cooking and baking bring a sense of empowerment to a child, but gives them a chance to explore ingredients. Talk about the difference it makes to use seasonal ingredients or where the fruit or vegetable grows in other countries. A cooking lesson can bring a child half way around the world with an ingredient and a story.
Baking consists of problem solving and mathematics, which is a great way to keep your child busy instead of allowing them to be glued to a computer screen all day. Decorating cupcakes with your daughter is a great ice breaker for her to open up about school and friendships. Invite your child grocery shopping and allow them to choose the ingredients for a project, this is a great way for them to get their creative juices flowing. Budget making, menu planning and responsibility are a few pointers they might pick up from budget shopping tips and advice you share. Cooking and baking are great ways to bond with your children; making time for meals all the while your child is picking up on kitchen safety, hygiene, nutrition, time management and problem solving skills. All of these factors can bring families closer together while building your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
Credits photos: Article: Qwrrty on flickr creative commons – Homepage: Arina74 on stock.xchng