Teaching your children to participate in cooking healthy and delicious food can help them make better food choices away from home and can help build confidence. Here are 5 tips make the most out of your next cooking adventure with the little ones.
1. Shop Together – A family trip to the grocery store may sound like a production, but shopping with your kids can be a great teaching opportunity. Make a game out of conquering your shopping list. Visiting the produce section can provide the perfect setting for a quick lesson on seasons.
2. Clean Hands & Clean Food – Cooking together provides a wonderful opportunity to teach the importance of hygiene. Show them how to use warm water and soap, scrub well, and dry their hands in order to prevent spreading germs. The ideal amount of time for hand-washing is at least 20 seconds. Rinsing dirt off of your produce is also a great time to talk about where our food comes from.
3. Chop It Up – Teaching kitchen safety is very important. Small children can use plastic knives or butter knives with close supervision. Foods like peeled fruit and soft vegetables are perfect teaching tools. Make sure to keep a close eye on those little fingers!
4. Don’t Mind the Mess – As we all know, cooking can be messy. Having children involved can add to the mess, but don’t let that take away from the fun. Keep paper towels handy and encourage frequent hand washing. This can also provide a great opportunity to teach your kids about cross contamination.
5. Staying Safe – Engaging the kids in cooking can be very rewarding and safe if you take the proper steps. Remember to always turn pot handles in and away from the edge of the stove to prevent spills. Keeping sauces and anything liquid on back burners is also a wise decision. After turning a burner off, place a tea kettle on the burner until it cools down.
Practicing these tips in your kitchen can help make the family meal as satisfying in the kitchen as it is at the table. If you have additional tips we didn’t include here, we’d love to hear about them! Share your advice in the comments below.