It’s never too early to get your kids involved in cooking – it’s a brilliant way of letting them experience new textures and tastes as well as inspiring them to use their imagination beyond the classroom. You’ll also find it is an amazing way to get them interested in nutrition and how eating healthily is not as boring as it seems.
Here are some tips detailing how you can get your kids involved and start bonding with them in culinary style.
Let them help you prepare
While peeling potatoes and chopping carrots may seem boring to you, to a child it is the epitome of maturity and exciting fun. This is also the best time to start introducing a child to newer foods they might not have taken to before. If they can see how it is made and help make it, they will show more interest in eating it as well!
Start by gathering all the ingredients you will need for the family recipe you intend on cooking. You can start by showing your child one activity a day or by showing them how to create the whole dish at once if you have the time. Just be prepared for the amount of extra mess a child will make in the kitchen and the possibility of dinner being slightly later than usual.
Use this as an opportunity to learn as well as have fun
Remember to keep an eye on everything the child does throughout these activities – even though they are supervised there are still the usual hazards of the kitchen. Use preparation time as an excuse to re-educate your child on the health risks of a kitchen – for example a supervised lesson on how to use knives will allow you to demonstrate the risk and show them how to properly hold a knife to prevent injury.
If you want to further engage your child within these activities you can take them through the whole process of choosing from the family recipes and ingredients, to purchasing the food and then allowing them to help you make it. Show them the pyramid of nutrition if they’re old enough to understand it and how you put together meals to get a nutritionally balanced plate.
Taste testing is important too!
One of the extra benefits of allowing your child to help out in the kitchen is that you can expose them to new tastes and textures that they would otherwise not eat. Bring a new ingredient or type of food every time you want to cook with your child. Allow them to touch, smell and play with it before they begin to prepare it for cooking. This is especially beneficial in smaller children who are more eager to eat it once they’ve familiarised themselves to its smell, feel and taste. This is a great way of preparing children for eating on family days out and behaving in a restaurant when there are unfamiliar foods and smells.