Learning how to cook is an essential life skill, which is why it’s important to teach your kids how to whip up a nutritious dinner so they are prepared to fend for themselves once they fly the nest. Not only is this a vital lesson for them, but it can also be a great way for you to spend some quality time together and have fun as a family. Below are a few useful tips you can use when you’re cooking with your kids.
Keep it Simple
If this is the first time that you’re cooking with the kids, you need to make sure you’re teaching the basics first. It might sound boring, but understanding the simplicity of timing when it comes to boiling an egg or making toast is a must as the foundations of cooking. If you have already done this, choose a more challenging recipe for them, but still keep it simple. Something like baking brownies or making a pasta dish is a good place to start.
Use Ingredients They Like
If you want to keep your kids interested in what you’re doing in the kitchen, make sure you’re using ingredients they like. Knowing that they will be able to sample their favorite foods once the cooking/baking is over will keep them invested in the task at hand. For example, do you kids love peanut butter? Why not make some peanut butter brittle with them? You can also find a peanut butter substitute if they’re allergic. If you want to teach how to make a more savory meal, use a recipe that incorporates their favorite fruit and vegetables, or find a healthier alternative to things like pizza rolls or other frozen foods they enjoy.
Let Them Choose the Recipes
Another way you can keep them interested in cooking is by letting them select the recipes instead. Select a few that you think they’ll be able to manage or healthy options you’re happy for them to eat and let them pick the final choice. The more input they have, the more excited they will get about making it.
Teach Them About Nutrition
While teaching your kids how to cook is a huge benefit, take this as an opportunity to teach them a bit more about what constitutes a nutritious diet, as this is equally important. In between prep work, cooking time, and washing the dishes, look up the nutritional information of the recipe or the ingredients and tell them what each thing is good for. There are plenty of kid-friendly sites online you can do this with to make it more engaging for them.
Finally, it’s important that everyone feels included in the cooking process, so if you’re cooking with more than one child, make sure you have delegated tasks to each of them. As an adult, you might have to do the more risky things, like taking things in and out of the oven and handling kitchen knives, but safer tasks like measuring the ingredients, rolling out pastry, or stirring batter or sauce can be delegated to the kids under your supervision. You can swap their roles each time you cook together so that everyone gets to try something new each time.
Everyone should learn how to make at least a few simple, healthy meals in their lifetime, so make sure you’re passing on this knowledge to your kids so they can develop this essential life skill.