The healthiest foods for you and your family are the ones you make yourself, since you control the ingredients and the preparation method.
Bonus: As your kids watch you in the kitchen, they are learning skills that will help them make better food choices as they grow.
Children who spend time in the kitchen will know the difference between baking and broiling, and how to tell a radish from a rutabaga. Studies show that empowering kids with cooking skills may help them:
- Recognize and choose healthier foods
- Rely less on convenience foods
- Eat a wider variety of foods
- Be able to prepare basic meals when they grow up.
Plus, making healthy food choices leads to a decreased risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
So enjoy some family time in the kitchen and watch your kids learn! Here are 10 basic skills that most can master by age 10.
1. Wash hands. Yes, they’ve been doing it since they were toddlers, but it’s worth repeating. And now they can learn to wash up before cooking too.
2. Understand basic measures. They can begin by helping you measure and pour ingredients. Soon they’ll understand millilitres, tablespoons and cups and be able to pick the right measure for the recipe’s requirements.
3. Follow simple recipes. In addition to the payoff of delicious end results, following a recipe enhances reading and math skills and helps kids learn to follow instructions. Try Campfire Philly steak sandwiches
4. Handle raw meat with care. Teach children that raw meat, chicken and eggs harbour bacteria and cannot be prepped on the same cutting board or plate as fresh vegetables.
5. Use a peeler and grater. Age 10 may be too young to use a sharp knife (it depends on the dexterity of your child), but they can certainly use a carrot peeler or cheese grater with some adult supervision.
6. Learn cooking terms. Basics include bake, broil and roast (in the oven), and stir-fry, boil or sauté (on the stove). They should also learn the names for pots, pans, spatulas and other useful utensils.
7. Cook on the stove. With an adult supervising, a 10-year old should be able to scramble eggs, stir fry vegetables or flip a pancake on an electric stovetop (you may want to wait longer if you have a gas range). Safety tip: Be sure to teach them to tie back long hair and never wear loose clothing around the stove.
8. Prepare a sandwich. My daughter was four when she made her first peanut butter sandwich – she was so proud. By the time she is 10, I hope she will have mastered grilled cheese too.
9. Bake muffins. Bring all of these skills together; try Apple cranberry muffins
10. Wash and dry the dishes – including pots and mixing bowls. After the cooking is done, kids can clean up too!