The other day my toddler once again asked to sit on the counter while I was preparing dinner. I know it is not necessarily safe, and my husband is not a fan of this either. But once in a while I give in and let him sit on the counter under the condition that he sits on his bottom and doesn’t touch anything. Well, he is very good at sitting on his bottom… Not touching things – that is a different story. It is slightly annoying that he wants to touch everything. But I can’t always keep saying “no” to everything either. And some good things actually come of it.
Any time I am chopping, washing, or unwrapping something in the kitchen, he comes and asks to try some. When he gets to sit on the counter and watch me prepare food, he takes advantage of being so close to all the things he wants to touch and try. And he tries everything! Today I was chopping vegetables for these delicious lunch burritos, and he tried them all. He was crunching on “little trees” of raw broccoli, some cauliflower, and walked away chomping on a carrot. He loves bell peppers and even asks to try an onion time and time again. I don’t think he is certain yet whether or not he likes the onions raw.
He loves to help and he likes to snack. The other day I brought home a whole bunch of bananas that were meant to go in the freezer. We use them in this whole wheat banana waffle/pancake recipe. He asked for a banana and I asked if he wanted to help me peel them. He proceeded to peel the bananas while making sure to take a bite out of every single one. I enjoy those moments. And I enjoy having him by my side as I am doing something.
Today I thought to myself – If we let our kids into the kitchen more often, and even just let them watch us prepare the food, how much more likely they are to try a variety of foods in its original state. I am striving to feed my family the good food – the real food. I am discovering new flavors by roasting, steaming, poaching, and baking. By using less salt and sugar. By using healthy fats and more spices.
Food is fuel for our bodies, and I want to fuel my family with quality fuel. And I want my children to learn to do the same. So I will let my toddler sit on the counter more often if he wishes. I will find ways for him to help me prep the meals. And once my daughter is older, I will have a little team of kitchen helpers who will learn by example. And by tasting all the yummy food they help me cook.