Welcome kids into the kitchen with help and resources from registered dieticians and Dairy Farmers of Canada.
Summer’s longer evenings and relaxed schedules afford us more time to prepare and enjoy meals as a family. It is the perfect time to welcome your kids into the kitchen to teach them about food, meal planning and cooking skills. When children are involved in the kitchen, they are more likely to try new foods, eat better and build the confidence they need to prepare meals and snacks for themselves.
Start our simple. Preparing meals as a family doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Start with one night a week and you will be surprised at how interested your whole family will become in cooking together. Depending on your family dynamic and the ages of your children, have each person take responsibility for specific tasks in preparing a meal together. My kids are great at using the iPad and computer and they can easily search for recipes. Visit www.familykitchen.org for ideas. Start by looking under the recipes tab where you will find a nice selection of family-friendly recipes. Each one has a photo of the finished product and step by step instructions with icons to point out the tasks that are suitable for kids.
Need more inspiration? Watch me as I showcase the Dairy Farmers of Canada mobile teaching kitchen, which will allows kids to practice simple cooking skills.
It is always fun to have the kids draw up a menu or a poster to hang in the kitchen announcing the upcoming meal and features.
It is best to select one of the recipes the night before and have the kids prepare a shopping list. There is a wide variety of fresh, in season produce available at this time of year. Drop by your local farmers’ market or grocery store to shop. Be sure to take the time to read labels and understand where the food comes from.
As you begin to prepare dinner, invite all members of your family to help so that everyone is together in the kitchen. Allow each child to take on a meaningful task. Taking responsibility for a portion of the meal helps to build their confidence in the kitchen and gives them a sense ownership in this important family activity. Younger children can wash, mix, measure, peel or do some simple cutting. Have the older children chop vegetables, use appliances, boil water for pasta or use the grill and barbeque.
Everyone can help in presenting the meal, making it look appetizing on the plate and setting the table. Be sure to take some photos of the finished products. A family cookbook would make a lovely Christmas gift for friends and neighbo