SHAPING UP: The importance of encouraging your children to help out in the kitchen
It’s really important to encourage children to help out in the kitchen. It teaches them lots of important skills from a young age, and the Easter holidays is a perfect time to get in the kitchen and have some fun with the little ones.
I don’t mean putting some frozen chips and turkey dinosaurs in the oven though.
I'm talking about cooking with healthy, fresh ingredients to make nutritious meals or snacks.
The habits they pick up now will stay with them for the rest of their lives, so building their confidence in the kitchen is one of the best things you can do as a parent.
My kids, Max and Jessica love helping out.
I always promote fresh, nutritious foods when we cook together so they get used to eating healthy.
They now make healthy choices on their own; I don't have to disguise veggies or battle with them to eat healthy foods.
Teaching your children about healthy eating isn't the only benefit of getting them in the kitchen though. Here are some other benefits too:
CREATE LIFELONG HABITS
One of the most important things you can do for your health is to cook fresh meals at home.
Inviting children into the kitchen and involving them at a very young age creates habits that will last a lifetime.
APPRECIATION FOR REAL FOOD
Preparing foods from scratch allows children to see for themselves the difference between real foods and processed ones.
As you cook, talk to them about the health benefits of the nutritious, fresh foods.
BROADEN THE PALATECooking together is a fun and low-pressure way to expose kids to new foods, and this can help picky eaters feel comfortable trying new foods.
When kids are involved in meal preparation or cooking, they take ownership and are more likely to eat the foods they prepare.
In a busy world of school-runs, homework, and after-school activities, ipads and mobile phones, the relaxed atmosphere in the kitchen offers quality one-to-one time and the opportunity to talk, about anything!
DEVELOPS MOTOR SKILLSStirring, rolling, measuring, sprinkling are just a few kitchen tasks that allow young children to improve their motor skills.
IMPROVES CONFIDENCEBeing confident in the kitchen is really important, so that when they leave home they won’t be relying on vending machines and frozen dinners to satisfy their appetites.
FEEL GOOD FACTORKids love to help! I guess it makes them feel big.
With practice, your little sous chef will eventually be a big help in the kitchen.
Watch their face the first time they get to see their parents enjoy and compliment them on a dish that they helped make.
HAVE LOTS OF FUN!Cooking is fun, kids love getting their hands messy! It also builds positive memories.
Some of the best memories I have of my grandparents are in the kitchen, I’ll never forget helping Nana making her special chocolate cake.
With all the benefits of teaching kids to cook, and no limits with starting, what are you waiting for?
Why not start with healthy five-ingredient chocolate chip cookies?
You’ll find the recipe for these tasty and nutritious treats elsewhere on the page – so go ahead, give it a go!