Here’s How I Encouraged my Son to Love Food & Cooking
Anxious about raising a pick-eater? Here are simple tips to help your child have a healthy relationship with food.
Food for me is life. As a Hotel and Restaurant Management graduate whose bread and butter was food industry writing, it's more than just gastronomical sustenance. I even met my chef husband because of food. Now that I'm a mom, I make sure that my seven-year-old son maintains a healthy relationship with food, too, by getting him interested in eating and cooking.
My son wasn't hard to feed from the very beginning, which is why we nicknamed him Pating. We knew that food would also play an important role in his life. Our job was to establish good habits from the get-go. Here are a few tips that may also help you!
Tip 1: Variety is key
As soon as he was six months old, we introduced him to various vegetables. We veered away from sweet purees until he got used to other taste profiles. When it was time to make him try herbs, seasonings, and condiments, this was when the fun began. My husband doesn't take no for an answer, and if our baby refused one of his concoctions, he whipped up an assortment of mixes until he got the little critic's nod of approval (a scraped bowl to the last bite). I believe this foundation of variety and blends opened up my son's palate.
Tip 2: Be an example
What we eat heavily influences his choices and habits, too. We aim to make every meal complete with protein, carbs, vegetables, and a side of fruit. Because family bonding always consisted of a good meal, he was easily curious and asked to taste whatever we were having. The golden rule is not to say no until he's tasted it, and that has paid off.
Tip 3: Involve your child in the kitchen
Our home's kitchen is where we and our guests gravitate to. We cooked and baked a lot on days off. At around 4 or 5 years old, Pating graduated from spectator to little helper. When we opened a cloud kitchen last year and blocked off weekend mornings for orders, we named our little critic the official taste tester — complete with his own apron and knife kit — so that we could spend time together even while working at home. This was when he began writing his recipe ideas, like his Soupaghetti, Cheese Stuffed Meatballs Covered in Chips, and XL Hawaiian Veggie Cheese Crust Pizza.
Tip 4: Teach them independence
Now that my husband works far away and it's just my son and me at home, it's been challenging to cook for him while remote working and homeschooling. It's all about time management these days, so it's been helpful to have Pating decide what to eat and cook simple things for himself. He enjoys learning big boy chores and is always ready to help in the kitchen. He even experiments, which opens him up to even more flavors and dishes. This independence is the latest milestone in helping him with his cooking and eating journey. And I have the strong foundation we've established early on to thank!
Try this Recipe: Pating’s Scrambled Eggs
Here’s a recipe my son makes with minimal assistance from me — from cracking the eggs to cooking to even plating!
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
a dash of salt, pepper, and sugar
2 pcs ham, chopped
4 pieces baked cauliflower flowers, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon butter
- In a bowl, mix all ingredients except the butter.
- Heat a nonstick pan and melt the butter in the pan.
- Pour the egg mixture and mix until cooked.
- Serve with toast bread and fresh lettuce leaves.
I hope these tips will encourage your child to love food and cooking, too. With lots of patience, understanding, and creativity, your little one will definitely enjoy kitchen and dining moments with the whole family.
About The Writer
Soon after graduating from De La Salle - College Of Saint Benilde, Sam began to work on a portfolio that has grown to include lifestyle, personality profiles, parenthood, and business writing. Her work has appeared in publications from Hinge Inquirer, Summit, and ABS-CBN Publishing.
Samantha’s worn many content-related hats: she’s served as editor-in-chief of juice.ph and yellow-pages.ph; project manager for Unilever Foodsolution's Chefmanship Academy; managing partner for Ampersand Collective, Resultado Co., and Comida Gastronomica; and a contributor on parenting topics for HeyMom.com.ph, Female Network, Metro Style, and PursuitofPassion.ph.
She has an MBA from the Ateneo Graduate School Of Business and varied courses in writing and content marketing under her belt. Sam is also the proud mom of a seven-year-old boy.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and do not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.