Viktor Belyaev, President of the National Association of Chefs of Russia, host of the Nestlé Russia Summer Culinary Camp, tells how to interest a child in something other than sausages.
Give freedom of choice
In everything related to food, children are quite conservative. Once they taste and love a hot dog, they will demand it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, this does not mean at all that it is time to stop trying new things. On the contrary, the more options for breakfast, lunch or dinner are offered to a child, the higher the likelihood of interest in a fussy new dish. Do not hesitate to appeal to the "authorities": tell us how much your beloved grandfather praises your signature borscht or that Winnie the Pooh cannot live a day without honey. The main thing is not to despair: it did not work out on the first try - it will definitely work out on the fifth.
Make eating a game
Gamefication and game mechanics came from IT and are firmly entrenched in many areas of daily life. Why not add them to your cooking too? For example, take a week-long trip to different countries of the world, serving dishes of one or another local cuisine to the table every day. Monday - Georgian khachapuri, Wednesday - Spanish gazpacho, Saturday and Sunday - Swedish meatballs and Uzbek dolma. By the way, many national recipes can be found on the Summer Culinary Camp page, where not only descriptions are published, but also detailed video tutorials from chefs from around the world.
Develop healthy eating habits
Taste habits are not immediately formed. Start small: replace pizza dough with pita bread, make a salad-leaf burger instead of buns, ditch mayonnaise in favor of yogurt. It worked? Keep up the good work. Over time, the child's diet is transformed so much that it will no longer upset the parents too much.
Encourage your child to cook their own favorite meals
In fact, this is also gamification, only the child here acts not as a spectator, but as the main character. Ask him to choose what to cook. Go to the store and the market together while explaining how to look for quality food or talking about the dish you will be cooking.
Just before cooking, free up enough space in the kitchen, give a quick safety briefing and assign responsibilities ahead of time. Just remember that the main thing today is your child, and you are assigned the role of the sous-chef. When everything is ready, invite your friends and have a picnic: so the emotions from the first culinary experience will definitely be extremely positive!
Photo: Getty Images
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