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One of the best things that you can do as a caring parent for your children is to help foster a healthy relationship between your kids and food. We are in a society that values speed, production and results and this has had a heavy impact on our eating habits and our relationship with food. We want good food and we want it now. There’s nothing wrong with a quick fix now and then, but these quick fixes are usually full of preservatives, additives and other nasty things that aren’t great for us or growing children.

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Quick fixes are wonderful for one reason – our lives as parents and people are getting more and more stressful and hectic by the day. However, this is damaging our relationship with food. Instead of cooking, we resort to nuking and taking our food away to gorge on by ourselves. We are cooking separate meals and growing more and more independent in the home. This is good, in a sense, but does it mean that more and more families are growing further apart? Eating and enjoying food is a community thing – we get together, enjoy good eats and share a laugh and a drink. We can’t do that with quick fixes. We can try to, though.

So how do you help your kids develop a good relationship with food? The answer, in theory, is easy – you start to cook, and you start to involve them in cooking. In practice, it can be difficult. Cooking is a fairly dangerous task. With sharp knives that can cut, cleave and wound, boiling water that can burn and scald, fires and flames that can singe as well as all sorts of other dangers, cooking isn’t safe. That can be countered. Responsible cooking and education can ensure that cooking is safe. Good practices can counter the danger of knives and heat in the kitchen and these can be easily taught by yourself or any number of Youtube cooking tutorials. Find out what meals your little picky eaters enjoy and give them a role in preparing them. Cooking is something to enjoy, not just another chore.   

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Cooking is an exploration of food and encourages a number of good habits. Firstly, cooking inspires mindful eating and consuming. With cooking, you aren’t simply stuffing yourself with quick fixes from the cupboard, you are actively preparing a meal with a number of ingredients. When we think about our food, we almost automatically eat better. Allow your kids to have an active role in picking ingredients during the grocery store and let them have a role in the preparation and cooking (heavily supervised, of course) of the meal! A lot of kids don’t see the kitchen until they move out into their own home, so set your kids up for life by getting them into cooking as soon as you possibly, and realistically can. Cooking is a great hobby to have and can be a source of joy and fun in the home. Cooking does not have to be a chore that bores.

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