There are many worthwhile benefits of teaching the youngest members of the family to joining you in the kitchen and learning how to cook.
Cooking together helps to produce a long-term positive attitude towards food, cooking, and eating, as well as bringing the family closer together, especially during the holidays. This would definitely be one of those activities considered quality family time.
So many unfortunate kids grow up never learning how to cook and are at a loss when they finally move out and have to fend for themselves, not to mention the long term health effects caused by eating an excessive amount of fast foods, which often happens when one does not know how to cook.
So how do you get the little ones involved when it comes time to prepare a meal? You can start with a conversation about what they might want to eat, making some delicious suggestions, making the grocery list, and going to the grocery store together.
Some delicious, but relatively easy dishes to prepare that are kid and adult friendly are listed below. Things like casseroles or some cleverly put together and hearty sandwiches might be a nice place to start.
Obviously, stay away from dangerous preparation techniques such as deep-frying.
Be enthusiastic, because if you love cooking, eating, and being in the kitchen chances are your offspring will acquire the same enthusiasm.
Now for the fun part, ideas for actual dishes you can prepare together.
- Teriyaki salmon and veggies cooked in the oven wrapped in foil packets (Yes, even the unsophisticated palates love salmon, especially with sweet teriyaki sauce!)
- Pasta with a varieties of salsas (Pesto and Fettuccini Alfredo being two of my favorites and loved by all)
- Grilled cheese sandwiches, the common variety, or you can find several gourmet styles which involve more ingredients but are still, very fun and easy to prepare
- Pasta salads
- Baked fish fingers
- Pita pocket sandwiches
- Tuna melts
Now that you have picked out the dish of your choice, teach your young one where to find the ingredients in the store as all grocery stores are basically set up the same way.
Once at home put on some good music, prepare some refreshing beverages and star t preparing the meal. Be patient and go slow, allowing your juvenile cooking partners to actually do some (or most) of the work.
You can divide the meal preparation into steps doing one step yourself while your son or daughter conquers another step completely on their own or you can do each step together. This will depend largely on the age of the student.
Be sure to lavish them with compliments on how well they are doing to create a sense of self-confidence and pleasure related to cooking.
Make it fun!
Cooking does not have to be so serious and your pupils will appreciate the one on one attention. Everybody loves a fun and enthusiastic teacher.
When breakfast, lunch, or dinner is finally finished the whole family will relish the time together, eating, relaxing and enjoying the fruits of their labor.
Don’t forget to set a good example regarding the after meal clean up. This is yet another integral part of cooking. Nobody likes a guest or a partner who does not dig in and help out when preparation and cleaning up is concerned.
The kitchen should be left sparkling clean and kids make great helpers!
Photo credits: Shutterstock.
About Lori Jo Hendrix
Lori was born in southern California and currently resides in Mexico. She is an actress and model who also writes in the fields of nutrition, wellness, and cuisine. Her passions include working as a volunteer with various groups in the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and injured animals.