As a nutritionist, fitness master, and mom-of-four, Sophie Guidolin cares deeply about inspiring parents and kids to make delicious and healthy food choices. Following the success of her first kids’ cookbook, Sophie has authored a second — My Kids Eat: Volume 2 — based on her simple food philosophy: Eat a variety of foods as close to their natural form as possible. With recipes designed to get little hands helping out, Guidolin guides parents with tips, tricks, and advice to empower everyone to eat healthier.
How early can kids start helping in the kitchen and what sorts of things can they do?
In our family, we have kids aged 11 and 10, and three-year-old twins. We get our kids involved early; our three-year-olds help out by mixing things, putting things in bowls, and the older two are now able to make full family dinners and clean up afterwards, which is a huge win!
The Benefits of Cooking With Your Kids
The benefits are endless, but I believe that children are more inclined to eat the meals they help with cooking. Plus, having kids prepare meals with you in the kitchen also gives them the essential life skills required as we grow up. It may seem like the mess and extra “help” can be harder than it is worth, but when your 10-year-old can make dinner, you will be cheering!
How do you prevent meal times from becoming a battlefield with fussy eaters?
When children are given the choice of foods they want to eat, I find that it is easier to get them to eat and enjoy the meals. I allow our children to select a recipe from the My Kids Eat books, (it helps when every choice is a good one!) For us, we place a lot of variety on their plates and whatever they eat, they eat. Whatever they don’t eat, we don’t stress too much about.
Should we be worried if kids come home having barely eaten their packed lunch?
It depends on how often it is happening. If it is daily, perhaps ask if your child has a preference for foods to eat at school. Remember, there are so many fun activities and games to play instead of eating, so it may not actually be the foods in the lunch box, but the time allocated to eat it.
A Few Tips:
- When baking a big batch of banana bread, slice and freeze it individually, as each piece will double as an ice pack and also remain fresh until lunchtime.
- Small, easy-to-eat items are always a winner.
- Allow your child to select the foods they love.
- To dessert or not dessert? In our house, we have dessert twice per week, because we want to teach our kids about the importance of balance. Life is not about restriction all of the time, but rather knowing the foods that fuel our bodies and energy. We have chosen the days according to our most active days.
Healthy Chicken Nuggets Recipe
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups quinoa flakes
- 1/2 cup almond meal or fine breadcrumbs
- 2 8-oz. chicken breast fillets, chopped into nugget-sized pieces
- olive oil cooking spray
- low-sugar tomato sauce, to serve
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Beat eggs lightly in a shallow bowl. Place combined quinoa flakes and almond meal in a separate shallow bowl; season.
- Dip chicken one piece at a time into the egg, and then press into the quinoa mixture to firmly coat. Place on tray. Spray with olive oil.
- Bake nuggets for 20 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
- Serve chicken nuggets with tomato sauce.
This recipe was originally written by Sophie Guidolin. For more, check out our sister site, Women’s Weekly Food.