7 Reasons to Cook with your Kids ~ plus 2 perfect recipes to try together
Do you cook with your kids?
Or do you dread company in the kitchen?
Perhaps you’re not keen on cooking yourself, or think your culinary skills aren’t worth sharing with your offspring..
Maybe meals at your place need to be quick and no-fuss, to fit around work commitments and the soccer-run, leaving little time to cook together.
Or it’s simply that you don’t have the patience for little helpers..
We get it. Oftentimes it’s easier to fly solo when it comes to getting food on the table.
But cooking with your kids is oh-so rewarding! Not only do you get (well, all things going to plan..) something to eat, but you get to connect, have fun and make memories with your kids.
Here are our top reasons to get cookin’ with the wee ones.
- It’s a skill for life
Connecting and having fun in the kitchen together is awesome, but really, teaching your kids to cook runs a lot deeper than that. Cooking is an essential skill for life. Just as you want them to feel confident to cross the road safely and tie their own shoelaces, you’ll want to give your kids the know-how to nourish themselves properly – for life!
Show them how to put a healthy meal or two together and you may just spark a love and appreciation of food that will serve them well.
- Real food in action
Ok, so we’re not here to pooh-pooh packets and convenience foods – they certainly have a place in the pantry from time to time. But you’ve hung around us long enough to know that we are crazy passionate about real food, and believe in food as medicine, right?
Great, cos real food is where it’s at!
Cooking from scratch with fresh, wholesome ingredients is a perfect way to show them exactly how individual foods come together to create a finished product. Plus, the earlier kids get accustomed to eating ‘real’ food, the less likely they are to develop a preference for the packaged stuff.
Bonus – homemade is generally substantially cheaper than the store-bought equivalent.
- Bond as you bake
With many kids preferring the company of their devices (ahem, that applies to some adults too…) it can be challenging to instigate old-school ‘face time’ at home.
Que a family cooking session!
When you collaborate in the kitchen, I bet you’ll chat, laugh and learn from each other as you go.
And yes, even though it sounds cheesy, no doubt you’ll create lasting memories too!
- Avenue for creativity
Cooking is an artform!
Allow them to go off-piste from the recipe and express themselves in plating or decoration, where applicable. Don’t forget to take a photo of your joint-creation!
- Time to shine
Seeing a recipe through from start to finish delivers a great confidence boost for little chefs – particularly when the end result is delicious!
Be sure congratulate the chef for her efforts every time.
- Cooking teaches maths and literacy, hygiene and safety
Cooking with a recipe requires reading, comprehension, measuring and weighing, all of which help hone essential skills in maths and literacy.
Then there’s the importance of keeping hands, utensils and kitchen surfaces clean, and learning to be careful around heat, power and sharps…
Seriously, cooking caters for so much more than the taste buds!
- Your future self will thank you..
Perhaps best of all, when they have a few signature dishes under their belt, the kids will be cooking meals on the regular for YOU!
Ready to cook up a storm together?
Great! But before you grab the aprons, there are a few things to think about that will make your cooking experience top-shelf:
Time it right
Schedule your together cooking time for when you and the kids are feeling relaxed, well rested and have plenty of time – weekends or holiday times are usually best.
Take a backseat
As keen as you may be to get your ‘Masterchef’ on, let your little cook(s) lead the way. Ask them to brainstorm recipe ideas and deligate as much of the stirring, rolling and chopping to them as possible. They will be much more engaged when they get to don the proverbial chef’s hat.
Choose things they like
It’s a no brainer, but be sure to choose recipes for things the kids will actually eat! (And if the big people will eat it too, bonus!) Classic favourites include spaghetti and meatballs, pancakes, pizza, scones, cake, and fruit smoothies.
Also, favour recipes with ingredients that are easy to source and that involve lots of simple preparation tasks.
Camilla Skaff from Seeds Newcastle loves to make these banana pancakes (with ingredients sourced from us) with her young family:
Wholefood Banana Pancakes:
2 cups of almond milk (or dairy free milk of choice)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 and 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1 banana, mashed
Combine all ingredients and blend until creamy.
Spoon dollops of the mixture into a hot, greased pan. Cook pancakes until golden brown on each side.
Let go of perfection
Yup, perhaps the biggest lesson for us big people is to take a chill-pill and relax when cooking with kids. Because it’s a certainty – your budding chef(s) will make a mess, use the teaspoons instead of the tablespoons or heaven forbid, insist on putting the cheese on before the pizza toppings….
Perfection? Let it go, friend! Simply enjoy the experience of sharing, teaching and creating.
Grow your own
Amanda is a huge fan of growing your own food to cook with. She suggests herbs such as parsley, basil, rosemary, chives and other easy to grow crops as good options for families to start. Such herbs can be sprinkled to scrambled eggs, salads or bread dough.
If you are able to plant and grow a few things, why not put the kids in charge of tending to the garden? The more kids are involved the more enthusiastic they will feel about cooking, and eating! (Cleaning up? Well that’s a different matter…)
Obviously, the level of difficulty for your cooking project needs to line up with your child’s capabilities, attention span and your own level of comfort.
Youngsters could start with stirring cake batter or chopping up a banana with a butter knife.
Camilla suggests equipping kids with their very own cooking kit to get them excited about cooking. Lightweight mixing bowls and spoons are a good starting point until they are ready to handle adult gear.
It goes without saying, but we’ll repeat it anyway – kitchens can be dangerous. You’ve got electrical appliances, heat and sharp knives – a potential recipe for a hospital visit.
Take it slow, show the kids how to be safe and always keep an eye on them.
Families that cook together….
Have healthy fun together!
So get out the cook books, take a deep breath and get cooking together this weekend!
Do you cook with the kids? Let us know in the comments.
PS: We’d love to see a photo of your cooking over in our member facebook group.
Make you cooking Organic and Place your order now @ https://www.healthfulpantry.com.au