Fair Warning: having your kids plate a gourmet meal is not the immediate goal of this article. It's likely that your little Wolfgang or Emeril is a ways off from being named Top Chef, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun in the kitchen.
Starting with basic cooking skills is a great way to get your kids involved in healthy eating from an early age. From easy breakfast ideas to packing their own lunch or even helping rustle up a full-fledged dinner with you on the weekends, there’s a lot you can (and should) teach your children about eating and cooking right.
Here are our tips for getting them started slowly:
1. Choose A Simple Recipe: Even before you decide what you want to cook, understand that the culinary journey is more important than the result. Don't try complex recipes in the beginning and pick something simple. For instance, if your kids want to rustle up something for breakfast, make eggs, pancakes or waffles. Ideally, the recipe should be easy to make and filling.
2. Assemble All The Ingredients: Before you start cooking, have your children help you assemble all the ingredients. Try and break the recipe down into easy steps and explain what ingredients and utensils you need. It's easier for the kids to cook when all the ingredients are at hand. It's also a great way to teach them how to replenish groceries by making a shopping list.
3. Help Them Read The Recipe: Most kids get intimidated by measurements and proportions. Simplify this for them by reading, deciphering and decoding the recipe instructions. Children respond well if tasks are explained to them sequentially.
4. Cutting, Chopping, Pressing: Before your kids step into the kitchen, it is extremely important to teach them about safety. Don’t let them handle the butcher knives immediately. Instead, make them work with smaller knives and show them how to tear salad leaves or press ingredients instead of cutting them up.
Here are a few easy recipes your kids can start with:
To make it fun for the children, try a recipe that’s been in the family. Try out recipes that come on the back of cartons or other food boxes; they're generally simple and only involve assembling of few ingredients. Encourage them to watch cooking shows to inculcate a healthy interest in cooking and eating well.