5 reasons why kids should get into the kitchen!
Getting kids in the kitchen and teaching them how to cook when they are young is one of the best gifts that you can give them for their own future independence. Children who grow up confident in the kitchen turn into adults that can easily cook for themselves and for others. They can make better food choices and keep themselves healthy and nourished. Whether cooking becomes something that they turn into a career or a passion that they have at home, they will never regret having these skills. I teach kids regularly how to cook and whilst not every child has the same affinity or love for it, I always see kids having fun learning, and creating yummy and tasty dishes that they can eat with their family and friends. Most importantly cooking with your kids enables them to see how much joy something they create can bring to others around them.
Children who grow up confident in the kitchen turn into adults that can easily cook for themselves and for others.
Today being able to cook at home has become more important than ever. With the recent effects of Covid-19 people are finding that being able to cook at home has become essential, and for many people it has become an enjoyable pastime and a new way to connect with family and friends. As a society we are geared up to being on the go, however for some being forced to stay at home has enabled us all to learn new hobbies. The kids that I have been teaching have shared that my cooking classes have been a highlight for them; that they feel a sense of pride when their families enjoy what they are cooking and the hard work that they have put in.
As awareness around obesity and healthy eating increases, and we learn more about the benefits of eating good whole foods – cooking at home is the easiest way to ensure that you know what food is going into your body. Understanding how to cook and what to cook to gain the most nutritional benefits for your body enables you to make sensible food choices. Some of the top chefs around the world and many organisations have been campaigning for years about healthy eating for kids, getting the right start in life, and better school meals and reforms in advertising and marketing of sweets and sugar laden products. Why not make sure that this is something our children learn from their earliest days.
As awareness around obesity and healthy eating increases, and we learn more about the benefits of eating good whole foods – cooking at home is the easiest way to ensure that you know what food is going into your body.
Not convinced? Are you thinking of excuses like- it will be too messy or this means more work for me. Here are 5 great reasons why children learning to cook will help them and ultimately help you.
Teaching our children how to cook prepares them for the future and it gives them the ability to feed themselves. We all love feeding our children – making sure that they are eating a healthy balanced meal and that they have food in their bodies that enable them to grow and thrive in their lives. However soon there will come a time when they will need to be able to do this for themselves and getting them cooking with you is the best way to equip them with the tools to do just that. Good habits are instilled over time. It is much harder to teach our kids when they are adults when certain habits have already formed. Passing these skills onto them will help to ensure that when necessity strikes that they are able to cook their own food.
Cooking can help encourage and enhance a number of other skills. Cooking requires understanding and using measurements. Getting your kids to measure and portion out their ingredients helps to build their math skills and in particular fractions.
Following a recipe gets kids thinking about organisation and language skills and encourages them to plan out their steps and manage their time more efficiently. As children get older you can get them to write down the processes and make their own recipes, which will help them to think laterally and critically.
Cooking is very scientific and it is really fun for kids to think about the kitchen as a mini science lab. My son loves baking with me and seeing what baking powder does to cakes, pancakes and other baked goods. When I make bread he loves seeing how yeast reacts and how the bread rises. I talk to him about how different environmental factors can affect the rising of bread- like warmth in the air, sugar in the bread and the element of time.
Cooking is a great interactive activity where you can, in a relaxed and fun environment, get your kids thinking about their learning in a different setting to school.
Cooking can help encourage and enhance a number of other skills. Cooking is very scientific, and it is fun for kids to think about the kitchen as a mini science lab.
Wellness and portion control
Teaching children to cook is an opportunity to get children thinking about food in healthier ways. We want our children to enjoy their food and know that having an occasional piece of cake or a sweet is okay. However, what kids (and adults) learn through cooking themselves is about nutritional content and balanced meals, how to prepare food and how to exercise portion control. They will also naturally learn about a variety of ingredients and how to cook ingredients in a variety of healthy ways. For example they will learn that potatoes don’t have to be fried and made into chips to be tasty. They can be cooked in many other ways and be just as enjoyable and still be healthy. They will learn that cakes and brownies can be made using things like courgettes and beetroot and, they will still be delicious but will have more nutritional value to them.
Teaching children to cook is an opportunity to get children thinking about food in healthier ways.
Appreciation and gratitude
Let’s face it- cooking can be fun but often it takes time and some level of preparation. When we feed our children they often see the end product- that they have food on their plates- rather than how the food got there. When kids cook with you there is a likelihood that they will begin to appreciate the food chain; where the food that is in your house came from and how it is prepared to make the delicious meal that they get to enjoy. We are doing a children a service when we teach them humility and appreciation for the food that is on the table. Cooking with your children is an opportunity for you to talk them through issues like sustainability and seasonality, in a very hands-on and practical environment. For example if it is January and you are in the grocery store with them and they ask for strawberries you can explain to them that whilst there may be strawberries in the supermarket that this is not the season for them and that it might be better to eat pears or rhubarbs.
We are doing a children a service when we teach them humility and appreciation for the food that is on the table. Cooking with your children is an opportunity for you to talk them through issues like sustainability and seasonality, in a very hands-on and practical environment.
Interpersonal skills and socialisation
Cooking is interactive and if you are cooking as a family, in a cooking class, or with friends it requires team work and communication. Cooking enables children to build their characters as they work with others to produce a finished product. At home they need to listen to your guidance and instruction. If they are cooking on their own they will need to follow a recipe and if they are in group cooking class or learning at school they will often need to work in pairs. Most importantly it is a chance for real quality time as a family. Cooking with your children gives all of you an opportunity to chat in a less pressurised environment. As they get older and into the teenage and adulthood years these times will become so important to all of you.
So now you know some reasons why kids should be cooking and you might be asking okay well all that is great but how do I get them in the kitchen. How do I teach them to cook and it not be a complete disaster with food all over the kitchen and more work for me? How do I encourage them to cook when there are so many other distractions and things to do? Click onto my next blog entry: 5 great ways to get your kids in the kitchen and excited about cooking!
Interested in getting your kids in cooking classes? Check out my kids cooking classes.