Every parent wants their children to grow up strong and healthy. One of the responsibilities of parenting is to instill in your little ones the good habits they will need to remain well through childhood into their adult life.
The modern urban lifestyle encourages people to grab their meals on the run, substituting healthiness for ease of access or repetition, because individuals think they don’t have time to cook up a healthy meal. For this reason it is a good idea to not only introduce your youngsters to healthy home-cooked foods as part of their daily meals, but also to get them involved with food preparation. Cooking as a family is also great way to bond and to enjoy some time together.
There are a number of simple tasks that even small children can perform in the kitchen area – things like setting up cutlery before meals, bringing ingredients out of the cupboard, and drying a few washed plates. Although the tasks seem trivial, they will help kids feel involved with the preparation of the meal and at home in the kitchen. Parents should emphasise the tasks as fun participation rather than dreary chores, especially if they want the kids to continue to help out!
Children as Meal Planners
Another way to include your children in cooking is to let them make choices related to the meal plan. What vegetables should be added to the sauce? What could be used as a side dish to the main meal? Through this activity, you can introduce topics such as balancing food types, the importance of healthy eating, and the preparation guidelines for different vegetables. Once your children have decided on which options they prefer, they can help you cook the meal!
Using Kitchen Utensils
Depending on their age and maturity, you might not want to let your children loose with knives, pans on the hot plate or other hazardous tasks. Easy ways that they can be of assistance include weighing out ingredients, washing & peeling, mixing ingredients together, or making dough. A few companies manufacture cooking utensils that are specially designed for children (Curious Chef is an American company that sells a lot of its products online).
Cooking Ideas for Kids
There are plenty of simple recipes that children can follow with a bit of adult supervision – from pizzas and chapatis to fruit kebabs and muffins. Parents should also try to get their youngsters involved with making a variety of “adult” meals too. The experience of handling different ingredients and cooking techniques will make kids more confident tackling new recipes in the future. The natural curiosity of children makes them enthusiastic helpers in the kitchen; if you can tap into their enthusiasm now, they’ll thank you for it later.