I am a strong advocate for getting kids in the kitchen. One of my goals as a mother and a dietitian is to raise healthy adventurous eaters. It’s never too early to capitalize on the curious minds and introduce the art of cooking to kids . Sadly, many people lack confidence in the kitchen. Cooking is a basic life skill that is essential to healthy eating. There are many benefits to inviting your kids in the kitchen to occasionally help out with dinner. Let’s take a look at 5 reasons why you should cook with your kids.
1). Broaden their palate:
Research suggests kids are more likely to eat a food that they helped prepare. The kitchen is a great place to talk about the benefits of healthy foods and to taste test. A good lesson for kids is washing fruits and vegetables and/or making salad dressing. My girls love making salad dressing and adding it to salads. Another great way to get young kids involved is have them tear the lettuce for a salad.
2). Builds confidence:
Inviting kids to help make dinner will help improve their confidence in the kitchen. One of the barriers to eating healthy is lack of knowledge and confidence in the kitchen. Hopefully, once your child has grown up and is ready to leave home they have mastered a few skills so they can avoid the frozen dinner section of the grocery store.
3). Quality time:
The kitchen is the main spot where everything is happening. Cooking with your kids allows you to spend and create quality time. You can chat about grandma’s favorite recipes, health benefits of certain foods, or simply your day.
4). Food safety:
Encouraging kids to help with meal prep is a great way to talk about kitchen and food safety. Teaching kids in a hands on environment is important. Its a great way to teach them how to handle a knifes safety, the importance of washing your hands, and food safety My girls love cracking eggs but they know why we avoid eating raw eggs.
5). Hands on learning:
The kitchen can be a great place for practical hands on learning. Cooking requires patience, planning, and following directions. Helping out in the kitchen also improves kids reading and math skills by reading recipes and measuring our ingredients.
Involving your kids in meal times requires a little extra time ,patience and mess to clean up. But the rewards pay off. Remember they don’t have to help with all the meals. Find age appropriate tasks. Most of all have fun.