I’ve been letting my boys help out in the kitchen since they were very little. It started with them setting the table and doing small tasks like dumping things into mixing bowls. Now, they are growing in their abilities to cook and make meals.
I invited Cheryl Mavin on today to give us a few tips on how to incorporate kids in the kitchen more. Here’s what she has to say-
As parents, all we really want to do is help our kids learn to live healthy lifestyles – and one of the best ways to do that is by teaching them about nutrition. They learn the basics of which foods are good for you and which you shouldn’t eat quite as often.
You should also make sure that they’re familiar with the kitchen, with what you do in there, and how important homemade food is. Here are some tips…
Don’t Talk About Dieting- Rather Focus on Healthy Living
First and foremost, no matter how much you want your kids to learn about food, you should make sure that they don’t hear you talk about dieting. It’s important that your kids think of food as a source of goodness instead of a source of fat and dirtiness and that you work hard on making healthy food less boring.
‘Clean’ eating is good, but it is ok to have treats on occasion. It is just best that your children focus on good nutrition and eating in moderation.
Let Them Experience Different Tastes
It’s important to make sure that your kids aren’t fussy eaters – and while admittedly most parents have gone through the excruciating experience of watching a toddler eat a bowl of peas one by one, they can definitely try to make their kids’ palates more exotic with their own cooking.
If you aren’t confident cooking with spices then why not take your kids out to Indian and Thai restaurants? Even though they might be shocked by the different flavors to start with, they’ll get used to them in no time and be more and more adventurous with food as they get older.
Buy Them Culinary Gifts
If your kids enjoy cooking then it’s important to make sure that you encourage it. Buy them aprons and cookbooks along with cooking equipment for their birthdays and Christmas. You don’t have to go for an expensive mixer, a set of cake tins is definitely enough for your daughter.
You could also go for some slightly more interesting ingredients like flavored sugar and different sorts of spices that your kids can experiment with. As a parent, it’s your job to encourage any interests that your kids might have – particularly when they’re as important as cooking.
Let Them Do The Fun Parts
Let’s face it: when they’re younger, your kids will probably be a whole lot more interested in icing cupcakes than talking about the nutritional properties of kale (then again, aren’t we all?). There’s no reason to force them into an area of food that they simply aren’t interested in. Life’s too short and you don’t want to discourage them from spending time in the kitchen with you.
Let them sprinkle grated cheese across pasta bakes and homemade pizzas (just make sure they wash their hands first!) and pipe frosting onto cakes. They’ll soon become more and more interested in other areas of cooking as they get older if the kitchen doesn’t seem like a foreign area to them.