Involve children in food preparation.
Children are often fascinated by what the adults in the family are up to and cooking is one such activity they can be involved in from a young age. Have your child help you to preparing meals or snacks by creating themes around the meal. Consider making up the colours of the rainbow using fruits and vegetables. The creativity required to include all colours of the rainbow means that a variety of fruits and vegetables will be included in almost all meals, and children will be more likely to try out new foods.
Have fun with the activity. Alternate the colour of the fruit or vegetable based on what it looks like with the skin/peel, and without. Today, a banana may be yellow because of the peel, but tomorrow it’s white because of the flesh – same with cucumber, eggplant, watermelon and potatoes.
Beyond the roasted and salad fruits and vegetables, involve children in the preparation of other meals. Start with soft porridge (sorghum/maize/oats), eggs (boiled/scrambled/omelette), and steamed mealie bread. Move on to starches and vegetables that are served as part of a lunch or dinner such as a baked/mashed potato, savoury rice, spinach, uphuthu/ umvubo/ting. As they gain confidence, they can learn mixed dishes such as stuffed peppers, macaroni and cheese, seafood paella and umngusho. You can also indulge them in kids, cooking classes over the weekend or school holidays. Preparing nutritious meals and snacks will not only help them to appreciate nutritious food but it also teaches them an important life skill, setting them up for a healthy lifestyle.