Authors: Registered Dietitians
(HealthCastle.com) Do you have children in you life? I have 2 young boys whom I have always invited to help out in the kitchen. I did this partly out of necessity and practicality [the cooking fairy doesn't seem to stop at my house], partly to help them develop a healthy relationship with food, especially new foods, and partly about capitalizing on their natural curiosity for food, ingredients, and different cooking "tools" and techniques.
If you are thinking about doing more cooking with your kids this year, why not combine this goal with an upcoming birthday or holiday gift?
- Learning to cook and bake can be messy, especially for kids as they are learning new skills. Protect their clothing and save yourself extra laundry by giving kids their own apron. Let kids focus on their learning, and being curious, rather than being clean, a skill that will come with time and practice.
2) Measuring utensils
- Both baking and cooking require measuring. Measuring spoons and cups helps kids start to learn about measurement, what different ingredients do and kitchen science.
3) Mixing bowl
- A large measuring bowl that has a rubber bottom helps contain the ingredients being mixed together to be within the bowl, rather than over-flowing, and allows the bowl to stay still on the counter while mixing or stirring, freeing up their hand from holding the bowl.
4) Mixing and flipping utensils
- Different mixing and flipping utensils – spoon, spatula, whisk, flipper - help do different jobs in cooking. A variety of mixing and flipping utensils will help kids to learn about different techniques like stirring, whisking, folding, mixing, beating and flipping.
5) Cooking hardware
- Different hardware like mini-muffin tins, cookie sheets, specialty pans, special cookie cutters, will help instill pride in children as they present their food concoctions. Mini-muffin tins and mini-cake leaves can be used in baking, but are also great for mini-meat loaves, and mini-quiches. Cookie cutters can be used to add interest to sandwiches and pancakes.
6) Binder of recipes for their own collection
- Beware of "kids" cookbooks, some of which do not offer a balanced assortment of recipes.
- Encourage your kids to start collecting and saving recipes they would like to try. Recipe sources may be from your local newspaper, a magazine, printed from the Internet or hand-written and passed along. Put recipes in a clear plastic page protector and create a binder of your kids’ favorite recipes. Recipes will remain protected from mess. You can easily add to your collection with new ideas.
7) Your time and enthusiasm
- Spending time teaching kids how to cook and bake not only develops life skills and builds confidence, it helps kids to learn more about what goes into their foods and how to adapt their favorite foods in ways that taste great and inspires health.
“Feed a man fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life.” The same is true for cooking, baking and children.