Teaching kids to cook certainly requires a good dose of motivation, free time and patience. But the time and effort are not lost, because cooking with your kids has many advantages including sharing family traditions, discovering new foods, spending quality time together and developing creativity and organization skills, among other things.
- Start or continue teaching your kids about healthy eating. When cooking, you can explain to them why it is important for their health to eat lots of colourful fruits and vegetables that provide their bodies with fibre and vitamins, or milk products that are essential for proper development and healthy bones and teeth.
- Encourage picky eaters to try new foods and dishes. They are more likely to eat something if they prepared it themselves.
- Awaken and stimulate your kids’ senses of taste, smell and touch when preparing and tasting dishes. Incorporate blind taste and touch tests as a game. Your kids will ask for more!
How to get them involved
- The first step is to choose a recipe that corresponds with your kids’ tastes and ages. Then pull out all the ingredients and measure them in advance if your kids are just starting out, so that all they have left to do is mix everything together. You can also get your kids involved in the measuring process if they are a little older or already have a little experience in the kitchen. Remember that it is important to supervise them throughout the process, one step at a time, and help them do everything—measure ingredients, add them to the recipe, mix everything together, etc. If children are old enough to read, teach them how to read a recipe and have them practice: You’ll know when they are ready to do it themselves.
- During cooking activities, take the time to instill the basics of food safety: washing your hands, tying your hair back, why you shouldn’t touch your face or mouth when cooking, how to avoid cross-contamination, etc.
- Most importantly, have fun and make sure your kids have fun too. The essential ingredient for chefs young and old is to enjoy what you’re doing!
A few recipes: