Are you still searching for ways to create healthy family meals? Do you struggle to find ways to incorporate key lessons on cooking into the weekly household routine? Do you also find it hard to pass on family recipes and healthy eating habits on occasions other than major holidays? Bringing kids into the kitchen at an early age can contribute to solving both of these challenges. In this article I will provide pointers on how you can educate your family on healthy eating habits as well some major benefits to having kids help prepare healthy meals early in the cooking process
Cooking is a great way to get in quality family time, educate kids on cooking and nourish your loved ones. Below are some of the ways that kids can get involve in the process and learn a great deal at the same time.
- Make a the grocery list- Depending on the age kids may not know what goes into various dishes but it can at least give you a heads start on what to get for the week. Additionally it will allow them to see what goes into making each dish that they see on the dinner table throughout the week.
- Choose a recipe – Kids are often asked, “what would you like to eat” swap that out with “pull a recipe for what you would like to eat and let me know what we need for it ”. This starts to cultivate knowledge of cooking from scratch.
- Give a task in cooking – This would include things such as putting them in charge of preparing a veggie (picking green beans or chopping veggie depending on age) or giving them a specific dish to cook. This is still applicable to me today when I return home for the holidays. Every major holiday I know it is my responsibility to cut up the fruit salad. I must admit I still take it very seriously, take pride in the quality of the ingredients and get excited when I see the delight when someone tastes it. Click here for some age appropriate tasks.
- Visit the local Farmers Market- This is a great way to see first hand how their foods should look taste and feel. One benefit to the farmers market is that the farmers really want you to enjoy and see the benefit of eating their foods. As a result you will often see samples of various fruits and veggies flavored in creative and nutritious ways.
I hope that these pointers on how to get kids involved are helpful now we will get into the awesome benefits of their involvement. For this I decided to go right to the source to get some real benefits of having kids get involved early with cooking. I decided to ask my mom what she noted from having us harvest various fruits and vegetable as well as taking over the preparation of dinner at times. Below are some benefits that you can reap as well!
- Ownership – When young if a child has a hand in the preparation of a dish they will be proud as well as highly likely to eat it (so have them make all of the salads).
- Protect them from junk foods when you are not around– Growing up cooking from scratch allows kids to see what goes into foods this will help kids grow up to understand what real foods tastes like and it will also train their taste buds early on.
- Passing on a vital life skill – When going off to college as well as post college years what was learned in the home will serve as a strong reference. This knowledge will give kids a head start on how to prepare food and meet their nutritional needs. I still heavily rely on pointers and recipes that my grandma and mom shared with me as I grew up.
Here are a few articles you can read that discuss the benefits that come from kids cooking:
What do you do to educate your family on healthy eating habits and cooking? Please share any tips you have in the comments below.