Learn to cook with your children. Kids don’t mind if dad can’t cook; all they want is a parent who enjoys spending time with them, hopefully with a few laughs along the way. If your children are school-age then get them in the kitchen and discover new foods, flavours and combinations. The internet is full of recipes, food blogs and how-to clips – just search, shop, cook and enjoy! If you have to take your children food-shopping, make it fun! If possible, try not to drag your kids round the supermarket when they’re tired and hungry. Be organised with a list of essential ingredients and don’t give into demands for expensive or unhealthy sweets, crisps and chocolate! The best time to go food shopping is immediately after a meal, you’ll spend less and get the job done quickly and easily. Create a good relationship of trust between you and your children in the supermarket (or shopping mall) in order to give them some freedom. If it’s a shop you use frequently, and they know their way around, let them go and track down ingredients. Be supportive and offer praise when they select the correct items. With small children, talk to them about the fresh produce and offer them chocies: Which apples shall we buy? These red ones or these green ones? Would you like cucumber or tomatoes with your dinner?
Use your natural male qualities to teach your children about meat! Buy a cow’s heart from your local butcher and let your children marvel over the tubes and tissues inside. Talk about the fatty part, the meaty (muscle) part, the fibres, the arteries through which blood flowed; then slice up the meat thinly and fry gently, in the same way as you’d cook steak or beef stir-fry. This kind of shared activity helps create in your child an active mind full of knowledge and life experience.
Bring science into the kitchen. Remember school science experiments? Here’s a really simple one: Test which liquids make copper coins go shiny! Use shot glasses filled with cola, tomato ketchup, vinegar, orange juice and anything else your children fancy trying. Let them write out their experiment and results on paper – to practise writing (though this is a fun activity so don’t focus on spelling). Alternatively, film the experiment with iPads and produce mini-videos with voice-overs!). Great idea for a wet afternoon! Most importantly, children should grow up in a positive environment. It doesn’t have to be rich in material items, but rich in love and shared experiences. As a dad, don’t be afraid to try new foods and new activities. Just because it’s always been ‘the norm’ to head off to well-known fast food chains on a Saturday afternoon, don’t think that children will automatically decide they don’‘t want something different. The way to handle children is to be prepared! Start a notebook of food, art/craft and outing ideas to use when it’s just you and the little ones. When you do some of these activities, remember to take photos, print them out and stick in a scrapbook or photo frame so your children can be surrounded by memories of happy times together – especially important if you don’t see your kids on a regular basis and don’t live with them. Good luck dads, you can do it! For more food inspiration click on the Facebook link below to visit my Business Page. Until next week, Lorraine
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