Getting Your Kids in the Kitchen is a Great Way to Instill Healthy Eating Habits


By Sherry Jennings, Dream Dinners

Not everyone has the opportunity to be raised with parents who love to cook, who know their way around the kitchen and enjoy sharing that passion with their families. Some of us had that opportunity and we’d be brought into the meal making process at various times to stir, chop, taste, or simply salivate during the wait. 

I was raised in such a family. My mom was Italian and spent long Sunday afternoons stirring pots of sauce even in the summer. My dad, an Englishman, enjoyed cooking just as much, although he cooked things he truly had a passion for. His family baked daily so the muffins and breads were on a seemingly endless cycle. He also loved hot sauces and would grow his own peppers and spend hours canning his well-known and sought-after “hot source.”

From fish to pasta, vegetable bakes to anything grilled, my parents kept me involved and I grew up loving home cooked meals shared with my family and friends.

Sure, today’s family schedules are jammed packed and events are endless. That’s why Dream Dinners is the perfect partner to keep families connecting, sharing and bonding through the power of the dinner table. I’m pretty sure my mom would have appreciated the effortlessness dinners Dream Dinners could have provided when we spent our summers at the lake house in Pennsylvania.


Get Your Kids in the Kitchen

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Did you know that kids learn about food and eating at a very young age? That getting your kids involved in the kitchen can help shape their eating habits for the rest of their lives. Positive experiences about food early on in a child’s life may help them develop healthy eating habits in the future. A recent study found that children who are exposed to cooking through culinary classes or aiding a parent or family member in preparing their meals in their home will be more likely to choose healthier foods not only in your own home, but when they are outside of your home, too. Researchers also found that the children who were involved in meal preparation had a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber and an increased willingness to try new foods.

Need some fun ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen? Try these tips for all ages:


2 Foundational Principles for Defeating Childhood Obesity

Are you Worried that your Kids are Headed Toward Obesity … before they Grow Up?

We’re a culture obsessed with media-glorified body images and yet our lifestyles are mostly sedentary with a high caloric intake. We live in a contradiction that’s challenging to win.  The grocery check-out highlights our dilemma with these two messages: (1) Follow these recipes and indulge, and (2) look like these super-skinny models. Research shows our health is the loser. Both children and adults are experiencing an obesity epidemic. 30% of American children are overweight or obese [i] and 35.7% of adults are obese [ii]. On top of that, our self-esteem wanes as we don’t meet the size and shape expectations we’ve accepted.


10 More Ways to Be a Fitter Family

Family Wellness | February 3, 2010 | By

  1. Devise a healthy snack list with your child. Post on the refrigerator.
  2. Teach your child to cook.
  3. Involve your child at the supermarket by assigning a list of nutritious foods to find.
  4. Start each day with a nutritious breakfast. Not only will your child pay attention at school, breakfast plays a role in healthy weight regulation.
  5. Encourage your child to play outside whenever feasible. Adults can play too! You’re it!
  6. On the weekend, live life instead of watching it on TV. Find a new place to hike, bike, cross-country ski or run.
  7. Find an indoor swim center that you can use all year long.
  8. Discuss food advertising with your child. Write letters to the advertisers that inundate children’s programming with low-nutrition food and beverages ads.
  9. Teach your child how to read and understand the information on food labels.
  10. Be a role model! Show your child how much you enjoy nutritious foods and fun, physical activity.


by Connie Evers, MS, RD


Connie Evers MS, RD, is a specialist in children’s health and nutrition education and the author of “How to Teach Nutrition to Kids”, a book which is used in thousands of schools throughout the world as a framework for nutrition education.  She also is author of  “Feeding Kids” newsletter.

We have obtained permission to reprint this list. If you would like to share or post this list on your site please contact Connie Liakos Evers at for details and rates.

A Few Tricks for Healthier Meals

Family Wellness | January 15, 2010 | By

Stacey Seybold Hiller, M.S., CCC-SLP is an industry expert in speech, language and feeding skills in children.

It’s time for a new year… time to start your family eating healthy! A few small changes now can make a big difference in the years ahead!

If you are like most people, after the holidays are over, you start to rethink your diet and exercise (or lack thereof).  It is harder than ever to keep your children eating healthy. Many foods marketed for children are high in sugar and fat and low in fiber and protein. Even many choices for kids at restaurants and schools fit into this category.  The worst culprit is processed foods.  These foods tend to be high in fat, sodium, and calories.  But, how can you get your family eating better?  Try to have more home-cooked meals.  Easier said than done, but you have many options now.


10 Smart Snacks for Moms and Kids

Family Wellness | December 18, 2009 | By

It’s a proven fact: snacking is actually good for you. Done wisely, of course!

The reasons are manifold. For one, snacking puts the kibosh on the extreme hunger that can catapult your family into binging on unhealthy foods. It also prevents blood sugar levels from getting too low and pitching people, big and small alike, into cranky moods. Research also shows that metabolism chugs along more efficiently when we eat small snacks throughout the day.

But the problem can be finding healthy choices. It’s all too easy to grab foods that momentarily halt hunger but do nothing to boost your family’s wellness.


More Tips for Toddler Eating

Family Dinner | November 9, 2009 | By

From Stacey Seybold Hiller, M.S.,CCC-SLP, Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and Owner, Dream Dinners of Indianapolis, IN


In previous articles, we have discussed offering a variety of foods, using a variety of dips, and not broadcasting our food likes and dislikes onto our toddlers.  But are there other practical tips that can get healthy foods into a toddler’s mouth?  You bet!  Try these:


Making Meal Time Fun with Toddlers

Family Dinner | November 6, 2009 | By


From Stacey Seybold Hiller, M.S.,CCC-SLP, Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and Owner, Dream Dinners of Indianapolis, IN

The previous article discussed how it is important it is to offer toddlers a wide variety of foods from an early age, and to have them eating (in a safe form) the same foods we are eating.  But that can be easier said than done.  What are some easy ways to encourage toddlers to try new foods?  Try some of these:


Getting Your Toddler To Eat

Family Dinner | November 2, 2009 | By

From Stacey Seybold Hiller, M.S.,CCC-SLP, Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and Owner, Dream Dinners of Indianapolis, IN.

baby_eating_breadOnce your child has developed enough motor skills to sit by themselves in a high chair, it is time for solid foods!  This is an exciting time in a child’s life.  This is also the best time to introduce your child to a wide variety of tastes and textures.  Even though it makes more work for parents, a messy (toddler) eater will be a good eater later on.  The more children get to see, touch, smell, and taste a variety of foods, the less picky they will become later in life.  Experimenting with food in this way during the toddler stages is a very important sensory experience.  Children that are exposed to many food textures will be more comfortable with things such as finger paints and sand castles later in life.  Even very young infants benefit from being around the family while the meal is being prepared and eaten.  Babies will become comfortable with the food smells, and then by the time they have foods in front of them, those smells won’t be unfamiliar or scary to them.  In addition, the language stimulation at meal time is extremely valuable for baby!