Cooking With Kids

Cooking is a great way to spend some quality time with your kids and teach them about all kinds of essential skills from good nutrition to simple math.

Cooking is a pure joy, it allows us to create something new with our own recipes or bring back fond childhood memories with a meal from mom’s or grandma’s house. Do you remember as a child making cookies with mom or grandma? Be able to put on the little apron and dump in the flour, or stir in the chocolate chips, or set the cherries in the middle. Cooking is fun and it is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your child.

I would say depending on the age of your child and their maturity, will help let you decide when to let them help in the kitchen. My children started around 2 with adding ingredients and getting to stir the bowl. My son’s favorite thing to do is still to be the one that gets to crack open the egg. Both of my children cook, I have encouraged it for many reasons, one is because it prepares them for the future.

It is important that children know how to cook and prepare their own meals. One it helps as adults that know how to cook their own food, which is going to be healthier then fast food and more cost effective. But you really don’t have to wait til they are out on their own to see the benefits. Your children come home from school and have to be home for awhile by themselves. It is nice if they can prepare their own snack, whether it be heat up left overs, make mac and cheese, or soup.

While you have your child cooking with you explain to them why you chose the ingredients that you did. How you picked the green beans. What you can look for to make sure that you have tender steaks, sweet melons, ripe bananas and so on. Let them touch it so they know what fresh food feels like.

Plus have you ever noticed that kids are more likely to eat something if they make it themselves. They say their hungry and you offer to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and they don’t want it, but ten minutes later they make it themselves and eat it.
My daughter and son both enjoy creating their own recipes for us to try. They haven’t made a bad one yet. My son’s favorite recipes that he created himself are “Turds” and “Turds on Toilet Paper”. It sound disgusting yes, but actually it is pretty good. He came up with the ingredients and how he wanted to cook it, I was only allowed to watch him in his little white apron as he made us dinner. He is nine, hence the name of the recipe. My daughter comes up with smoothies, and veggie dips and rice dishes. Having them create and experiment with food is fun. They enjoy it, we enjoy it, it creates nice family quality time.

If you don’t feel that your child is ready to create their own recipes, teach them easy dishes to prepare for themselves. Scrambled eggs, soup or pasta, spaghetti, mashed potatoes (out of a box), toaster pastries, toaster waffles, sloppy joes, frozen pizzas and oatmeal just to name a few.

Bringing the little one’s into the kitchen and having fun with them is a wonderful way to teach them independence and build self confidence because once they learn to cook you are giving them a sense of freedom. The old adage, “Bring a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach the man how to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” This is true for our children as well.

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