Teaching children about good nutrition can be a struggle. Most toddlers would do just about anything to get an extra slice of cake. As a parent, it’s our responsibility to educate our child and show her what healthy eating looks like. Don’t be afraid to ask her to join you in the kitchen! This way, she can explore new flavors and learn to cook delicious, recipes using whole, natural ingredients.
The Surprising Benefits of Cooking with Children
The kitchen can be a fascinating place for toddlers. They are eager to get their sleeves rolled up and play with food. Cooking with children is a great opportunity to teach them about good nutrition and make healthy meals that your whole family will enjoy. Your kids will learn valuable skills and have fun.
Teaching children to cook can jump start a fondness for healthy eating. It’s also good way to bond with your toddler and spend quality time together. Most kids love to cook, so it should be easy to get them in the kitchen. Simple tricks, such as wearing aprons, singing songs, and using smart cooking tools, can make this experience fun for everyone involved.
Cooking is a valuable skill that can help you children make better choices later in life. They will learn to measure ingredients, follow directions, and have fun tasting healthful new foods. This can boost their self-esteem and creativity. It also allows them to use basic math skills and familiarize themselves with food safety practices. Cooking exotic dishes can improve cultural awareness and give kids an opportunity to discover new spices, herbs, and foods from all around world. In addition to what you can do at home, you can enroll them in external cooking classes such as Kids Love Sushi offered by Cozymeal and get them educated by a professional chef.
Research shows that cooking with children can boost their happiness, social skills, gratitude, and health. They also learn new words and lay the foundation for good eating habits. Getting your kids in the kitchen may take some prep work and flexibility, but it’s worth the effort. Cooking helps children explore with their senses, open up to new tastes, and make smart food choices. Reading and following step-by-step directions can hone their reading comprehension skills and make them more disciplined.
Kids who don’tt know how to cook often rely on sugary treats and salty snacks to curb hunger. Learning to cook can help them become more self-reliant and provide the motivation needed to eat healthy. You will be surprised by how much your child enjoys cooking! Toddlers usually want to do all the rolling, beating, cutting, stirring, pouring, and stuffing. They can be a real help in the kitchen, so give them a chance to use their skills. Here are some tips to help you out:
When it comes to cooking with children, planning is part of the fun. Ask your kid to help you make a grocery list and choose his favorite recipes. Write down what ingredients you need and then go shopping together. This way, he can learn how to organize and think ahead. Set aside a couple of hours to plan the whole experience. For instance, you can do it on weekends.
Choose the Right Recipes
Contrary to popular belief, it’s no need to use a special cookbook for kids. Start with basic dishes, such as vegetable omelet, oatmeal, frittata, meatballs, spaghetti, puddings, or tuna salad. Look for recipes with pictures and easy-to-follow instructions. Read them together and make healthy food swaps. Replace margarine and mayo with Greek yogurt, use low fat dairy, and use stevia instead of sugar. Explain your child why you’re making these changes. Tell him about the side effects of sugar and processed fats, talk about the benefits of proper nutrition, and show him how to safely use various kitchen tools.
Assign your child simple tasks, such as beating eggs or stirring vegetables. Even a two-year-old can break cauliflower into pieces, wash fruits and veggies, wipe tabletops, or apply soft spreads. This way, you can focus on the most difficult parts of the cooking process and make sure your meals taste delicious. Eventually, set up a kids’ cooking station away from the heat.
Let Them Be Creative
Choose four or five healthy foods, and encourage your toddler to make a sandwich or a snack from them. Start with whole wheat bagels, mini rice cakes, graham crackers, muffins, pancakes, jelly, or fruit salad. These treats require minimum preparation and take minutes to cook. Ask your kid what else he would like to add to the meals you are cooking.
Remember to praise your child for his accomplishments in the kitchen. Reward him with a small gift, such as his favorite cookies or a new toy. If he enjoys this experience, sign up for parent-and-kid cooking classes. Use food magazines and cookbooks for inspiration. Give your kid his own safe utensils and supervise him closely. Always put safety first. Be spontaneous and make it fun!