Encouraging your children to eat a varied diet is one of the most rewarding things a parent can do. You’re setting them up with healthy eating habits which they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Another way of getting your kids excited for mealtime is by teaching them how to cook. It’s an important life skill that will teach them about nutrition, portion size and improve their mathematics. There is a vast array of recipes out there that you can involve your children in making no matter how old they are. Follow these steps and you’ll have confident little chefs and bakers in no time.
Choose a suitable recipe
This is a personal choice depending on your family’s food habits and your own abilities. Choose recipes that are not too complex to begin with. You don’t want your children to lose interest or get confused by loads of different elements. Cupcakes and cookies are quick to make and fun for your children to create. Once they have got the hang of this you can move onto something a bit more difficult next time, depending on their age. You can also give them a small task when you’re cooking family favourites, such as lamb casserole or spaghetti bolognese. Your kids can keep track of the timer or help mix the dough for homemade pasta. This will keep them preoccupied and help you out in the kitchen. Always use your own common sense and don’t allow them to use sharp utensils without your supervision.
Get them involved in your weekly shop
Make a shopping list in advance and get your children to help you find what you need. This is a brilliant way of getting them to learn about unusual fruit and vegetables they might not be familiar with. Use this as an opportunity to use their maths skills, by getting them to count each item as you put it into the bag. They will love the extra responsibility you’re giving to them which will also give them more confidence. Always make food shopping seem like a fun activity and not a repetitive chore.
Teach them about food hygiene
Being hygienic is an absolute must when teaching your children about cooking. Get them to wash their hands before they begin and if they touch raw meats. Use different coloured knives and chopping boards for meat, so they get used to keeping these separated. Also let them help out when you’re washing up afterwards. They will love playing with the water and pretending to be a responsible adult.
Let them read recipes
Reading recipes are great for children as they are usually in short sharp sentences. Encourage them to read the ingredients list then move onto the method. This will help them learn new words and they can ask you about anything they don’t understand. Again encourage them to add up and subtract by themselves when measuring ingredients to boost their confidence. You can find great recipes online or on cookery books.
So there you have it. 4 simple ways you can get your kids excited about food and interested in cooking with you. Make it a fun, learning experience which you can all enjoy together in your child friendly kitchen.