My 5 year old, Aidan, started liking to help out in the kitchen about a year ago and now I can’t make anything without him helping. If he’s not busy with toys or friends and I’m cooking then he is my little helper. I will say it definitely requires patience having a 5 year old cook with you but I do see the value in it. Aidan is learning to measure, different textured foods, following directions and spending time with mom. I feel too that when he helps me out with a meal he is more apt to try it. I have him pick out different vegetables and first thing we also smell them and feel them. If it was up to him we would bake all the time but I am slowly incorporating him more into side dishes.
Did you know that studies show that when you begin preparing your meal with rice, you end up with a meal that’s better for you? I had no clue but to me that totally makes sense. When we add rice to a meal chicken and vegetables usually accompany it, which is one of our healthier meals. To mix things up though I like to use different flavors or rice, seasonings, sauces, and vegetables.
Rice is in Aidan’s top five foods and he is amazed when we make it. I usually make it in the microwave or rice cooker and he is amazed at how hard pieces of rice and some water cook into soft chewy (yummy) rice. Since you just add water (usually) and then push Start in the microwave or rice cooker, it is also an easy item for Aidan to do. He is so proud then when its all done and loves to show off that he made it all by himself (well almost.) So in a just a few minutes Aidan can create our side dish and eventually we will experiment a little more.
To encourage parents to connect with their kids in the kitchen, Uncle Ben’s has launched an exciting national contest called Ben’s Beginners! By entering the contest, you could win $20,000 plus a $50,000 grant towards a cafeteria makeover for your child’s school! Oh and you even have the chance to appear on The Rachel Ray show! To enter, parents of children 5-12 years old are asked to submit a 2-3 minutes video of themselves with their children cooking a rice-based dish! For more information on the contest, you can visit Ben’s Beginners on Facebook.
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