So, you've consciously decided to reduce the amount of processed food in your home. Now it is time to get your kiddos on board. Help them understand the importance of the family dinner and real food with these ten simple steps...
Our family has been slowly switching over to a real food diet. I've been making huge strides to ensure we are eating fresh fruits, veggies, and meat with our daily dinner. Here's the catch: I understand the value and importance of real food, but earlier this year it became abundantly clear to me that my kids don't "get" that our dinners are intentionally fresh.
As parents, I believe our true goal is to help teach our kids to make good choices when we are NOT there. The seven tips below all revolve around opportunities to talk with your child about your family's food choices.
I've found that having a monthly subscription to Raddish Kids cooking kits has been a great door opener for discussing real food with the kids. My mother-in-law gave my daughter a 3-month subscription for her birthday in the spring. We'll chat more about that later.
Right now, let's get started on the tips...
1. Get your kids involved in meal planning.
Do you want to know our families meal planning secret?? Assigning general themes to each day of the week for your meal plan. Learn more about this family dinner system. If you're like our family, you tend to have a standard rotation of recipes. Our monthly Raddish Kits bring a nice variety of new, unique, and kid-friendly recipes to our rotation.
With our latest Food is Art kit we received three recipes for our rotation:
- Doodle Noodle Bowls: Build your own noodle bowl to create edible abstract art.
- Carved Cucumber Boats: Sculpt a salad that sparks your imagination and excites your tastebuds.
- Painted Pastry Fruit Tart: Create a colorful work of art - design and decorate a fresh fruit tart.
The girls love being able to add "their recipes" to our meal planning chart.
I'm telling you friends, my girls ate THIS real food recipe because of all the cool ways Raddish gets kids involved in the kitchen. Doodle Noodles Bowls ROCK.
2. Get your kids shopping!
Instead of quietly filling the cart, talk about the "why" behind your purchases at the local grocery store or farmer's market. Make the tip an adventure: foster independence by putting your kids in charge of the shopping list.
The convenient thing about Raddish Kids cooking kits? They always send a kid-friendly shopping list with all the recipe ingredients in one spot.
Check out everything that comes inside a Raddish Kids kit.
If your kids are too young to be in charge of the ingredient list, Raddish offers a free theme-based grocery store scavenger hunt printable with each new kit on their website every month. The point? Interact with your kids at the store, chat about ingredients, have fun!
3. Let them lead.
When it comes time for prepping for dinner, put your kids in charge of making the recipe. If you've got little ones, this can be as simple as having them pull the ingredients from the pantry or stirring when necessary. For my girls (9 & 10) this meant: getting all the ingredients, measuring the appropriate amounts, and working together as a team.
By the way, every Raddish recipe comes with illustrated step-by-step instructions, allowing children of all ages a sense of control. The best part? It is laminated (see above). No worries about spills AND kids can use a dry eraser marker to cross off steps as they cook.
Real food is about having control and knowing what is in the food you eat. Putting your child in charge of a recipe allows them to experience the ingredients in a dish. When we made this Asian sauce, we looked up some of the ingredients in a processed version to compare with what we created.
4. Be honest about your hesitations to try new things.
Ummmm. The Doodle Noodle Bowl recipe that came with our Radish kit required baby bok choy. Are you familiar with this ingredient? I admit, I wasn't. In fact, I wasn't sure about a lot of things: if our local store would carry it, which parts of it were edible, or what it would taste like. The fact that I was trying a new fresh veggie made it all the more exciting for the girls. They strategically checked it out: feeling the leaves, smelling it, listening to the crunch as they pulled the stalks.
After we researched the best way to cut it on YouTube, the girls actually argued over who gets to dice the baby bok choy. I love that the Radish kit forced me out of my recipe comfort zone, too.
5. Be a goofball and keep real food fun.
Once of the best side effects of real food, is the chance to bond over prepping dinner. Use this opportunity to discuss the origins of your ingredients or to discuss the pros of buying local produce. Keep the conversation light and prep time playful. One of our favorite ways to do this is to listen to music while we chop, chop, chop. With each themed kit, Raddish shares a family-friendly music playlist via Spotify.
Check out all the extension activities (or bonus bites) that come with the various available kits.
The girls were obsessed with the fact that the baby bok choy was as big as their heads. So we had fun goofing with the baby bok choy. They asked me to take a photo of them holding it. This then progressed from the standard sweet shot into the more exuberant, "You want me to eat what?!?" expressions. The point? We had fun.
6. Give your kids the tools to be openminded and polite.
Chances are, if you let your child help with meal planning, shopping, and prepping dinner... they will try almost ANYTHING. Give them the opportunity to embrace dinner before enforcing a one-bite policy. You might be surprised! If your little one willingly tries a new recipe, give them the tools to politely say they' don't like it. At our house, we picked up this phrase from some family friends, "I tried it, but it's not my favorite."
I admit, when the Raddish kit instructions suggested laying out all the fresh ingredients buffet style, I was hesitant to do so, but we gave it a whirl. Offering them the power of choice simply opened the door for more conversation about who is picking what. I also loved that the girls got to individualize their noodle bowls. Each was equally healthy, but they each had completely different ratios of toppings.
7. Don't forget dessert.
There are so many fun ways to make dessert healthy and delicious. Don't let your dedication to real food end with just dinner. The best option is to search for recipes that involve fruit! We followed the aforementioned tips when baking the Pastry Fruit Tart from our Raddish Kids recipe kit.
We talked about how we'll make the recipe again in a month with fresh raspberries from our patch in the yard. The final product was delicious. That being said, what the girls were MOST excited about was the fact that the crust was egg-free. In other words, they got to lick the spatula and Kitchen Aid beater.
BONUS TIP: Have a real food buddy.
Let's be honest here, making recipes with fresh ingredients can be pricey. The cost of real food can make "It's not my favorite" a hard line to swallow. Ease this financial stress by finding a few real food buddies. I've made commitments with two family friends to share fresh leftovers. In other words, after we finished our Raddish Doodle Noodle Bowls, I packed up all the ingredients in to-go containers. The next morning I delivered samples to two friends so they could try the recipe, without having to make it in-full for their families. At one of my drop-offs, I received a batch of fresh organic pesto in exchange. It was AWESOME.
Talk, talk, talk
Like I said earlier, the best way to teach your children the joy of real food is to get them involved and TALK with them about your choices. All the tips above work regardless of wether or not you have a Raddish Kids kits, they've simply facilitated the discussions in ways that were unexpected and super helpful to me.
Why Raddish ROCKS
Like I said earlier, my mother-in-law gave my daughter Rose a 3-month subscription for her birthday. She'd been enjoying our personal subscription, so I was thrilled when Raddish Kids reached out to ask if we'd like to sample another one of their themed recipe kits.
Here's a recap of what Raddish Kids kits include:
- Each cooking kit contains three family-friendly recipes which you can easily add to your meal planning rotation.
- The ingredient lists and recipe step are illustrated in a way that is easy to follow. The images help pre-readers understand the steps, and visually reinforce steps so older children can work independently.
- The recipe cards are tri-fold, sturdy and laminated. They also contain extra information such as tips and history about the dish. My daughter has a cooking folder with her favorite Raddish recipes.
The girls love the kits, but here's why I think Raddish rocks:
It is the collection of 101 additional little things Raddish offers to inspire young chefs: a creative themed craft or activity to go with the recipes, an apron badge for mastering new skills, a shopping list for grocery store independence, a table talk card deck, music inspiration and more.
DISCOUNT FOR LET'S LASSO THE MOON READERS
One of the other reasons I was excited to share a product review with you is because it meant I get to offer you a special discount...
Raddish is offering Let's Lasso the Moon readers 25% off your first kit with the purchase of a 3, 6, or 12 month membership. Use online discount code LASSOTHEMOON when checking out.
And if you need a little more convincing, check out all these great benefits to cooking with kids or check out a few other reviews from parents:
- Garden Lasagna Pots: A Great Recipe to Cook With Kids | Peanut Blossom
- Rescuing the Family Dinner (A Cooking Kit for Kids) | The Artful Parent
- Raddish Cooking Club for Kids | Tinkerlab
If you have any questions about the tips above or our experience with Raddish Kids, let's chat in the comments!
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”