There were several “noises” made at our dinner table the other night, actually, there are noises made at our dinner table most nights. Now, I don’t want to “out” anyone else, or use any more quotation marks, but let’s just say I wasn’t alone. I blame it on healthy eating – the healthier you eat, the more gaseous you become. It’s a complete win/win situation; if, of course, you consider having gas a win. Are you buying this? A quick search “Why does eating healthy cause gas?” – turned this up.
It is important that our kids eat healthy, nothing groundbreaking there, but, not only do I believe that it is important for kids to eat healthy, it is important that they learn how to prepare healthy meals. By prepare I am not only referring to getting the food out and putting it together, I mean the shopping for, learning to store, preparing, and cleaning up after. Our family does not eat perfect, but we certainly make a strong attempt to stay as gassy as possible.
A snack that I have prepared with A. since she was two, and one that H. has been around her whole life – in some capacity – is granola. Why granola? Other than the fact that it’s tasty and can be made healthy, it is a great jump-off-point to teach our kids about measuring and food substitutes, and, as a bonus, it is not overly messy and has a quick cooking time.
Our granola making missions…goes a little something like this.
“Hey guys. Want to make granola?” What was a collective “Yeah” six months ago, has turned into an uninterested slow walk to another room to get out of one another’s sight, a quick shuffle to the kitchen in hopes that the other sister doesn’t notice, and a dash to the utensil drawer, all in an effort to get their desired spatula color (which is always the same) and the coveted giraffe handled mixer. Invariably they get to the kitchen about the same time, and we spend three minutes deciding who gets what utensil. A. says, in such a way that makes H. believe there is real value to her statement, “But H. the measuring spoons are what we add the vanilla extract with.” H. smiles and follows along, and A. gets the giraffe. Which is fine, until H. realizes that A. has the giraffe.
After getting our utensils straight, the girls scamper up their step stools, nestle into the island’s ledge, and wait to see where I put the honey. Their eyes following every ingredient as a I slowly set them down, I mess with them so often, putting my hand on the honey, looking back, then going for the vanilla extract, I can see the panic on their face, silently telling themselves “If he leaves the honey out, I’m out” and with a simple twitch of the eye they know they could get the other sister to follow, I would be left making granola alone while they swim in lava with mermaid tails – some days I instigate this outcome, we all need a little alone time.
We line the ingredients up while naming them, dividing them into “wet” and “dry” groups. We start by mixing the dry ingredients, I alternate the kids adding ingredients, A. has learned the order, and acts as though letting H. go first is a saintly thing to do – she knows that honey is added on an even-numbered turn, I throw her a curve every now and again to keep her honest. We then: mix the dry, mix the wet, mix the dry with the wet (using our hands), pour it on a baking sheet, and wait.
How do you include your kids in the kitchen? What are your favorite “kid friendly” recipes?
*Our granola recipe can be found here.