Allowing your toddler to help with the preparation of meals can be a great way to involve them in the cooking and subsequently the eating process. I have found that our toddler gets much more excited about eating the food when she can see it being prepared.
One of her favourite meals is fish fingers but only if she can see them being cooked. On the couple of occasions that I have put her in her highchair and dropped the finished product on her plate it has been rejected.
On the other hand when she can see them bubbling away in the oven she gets so excited that she can hardly contain herself and it can be quite a struggle to get her to wait until they are ready. Needless to say when they are finally ready they are devoured.
The same goes for another one of her likes – fried mushrooms in butter (Yum!). She loves to watch me cut the mushrooms and go through the process of heating the pan, melting the butter, adding the herbs and tossing the mushrooms until they are ready.
We verbalize all the steps and she even helps me add the herbs most of which end up on the floor. Once again by the time the meal is ready she can’t wait to eat it. I have also tried to make these in advance but she will only eat them if she can ‘cook’ them herself.
It may just be idiosyncratic of our little one but I feel that if your toddler is involved in the processes surrounding eating they may be much more inclined to actually eat the food that they have helped prepare.
It is certainly worth a try and it can be a great deal of fun as well as a potential solution to toddler feeding – one of the biggest battles of toddler hood.
Here we come junior masterchef…