Getting children in the kitchen is a great way to promote healthy eating, get your child interested in trying new foods, and a great opportunity to teach them the role different foods have on their bodies and growth. Although getting children involved in the kitchen sounds time consuming (and messy), it can also be lots of fun. Getting your child involved in cooking can teach them that the kitchen is a place where nutritious meals are created and families spend time together. It can be a great opportunity for you to bond with your children and spend quality time together as a family.
There are many different ways you can involve your child in meal prep and cooking that will actually help you! The best bonus is children usually love to eat the foods they have helped prepare!
Depending on your child's age there are different kitchen 'tasks' they can help out with. See some of the age appropriate suggestions below. Hopefully they provide you with some ideas on how you can include your child in meal prep and cooking.
Children 2-3 years of age:
Wash vegetables or fruit
Collect ingredients for you (spices, produce, oil etc.)
Put paper cups into muffin tins
Add ingredients to baked goods (you measure it out, they add it to the bowl)
Smell and or/taste the different foods you are cooking
Tear lettuce or greens
Put things in the compost, trash, or recycling
Wipe down tables or place mats
Your 2-3 year old child can also just be with you in the kitchen. Sit them down with a cookbook to look through or a pot and pan to 'pretend' mix. Having them in the kitchen, watching you cook is a great way to learn too!
Children 4-6 years of age:
Peel fruit (like an orange) or hard boiled eggs
Make a homemade pizza or sandwich (when the ingredients are pre-prepared for them)
Slicing soft foods (with a plastic knife - like a banana, avocado, soft cheese etc.)
Cut fresh herbs (using child friendly scissors)
Measure and pour ingredients into mixing bowls
Stir ingredients together
Help plan meals (e.g take them grocery shopping or get them to pick out a recipe to 'test')
Set the table
As children get older (8+ years of age) you can start to get them involved with more (depending on their interests). They can begin using simple equipment like a toaster or a cheese grater. They can make their own simple breakfasts like cereal and fruit or yogurt bowls. You can also get them involved in more complicated meals like cooking eggs (with your supervision) or helping make and pack their own lunches.
Getting children involved in the kitchen at an early age will help create healthy eating habits that will last a life time. So get creative, messy, have fun, and enjoy food together!
Check out one of my favourite and healthy oatmeal cookie recipes by Amy's Healthy Baking. They are nutritious and delicious and super easy to make. Even better you can get your kids to help. Click here for the recipe.
Another fun and simple recipe are these shortbread cookies from Pampered Chef. Click here for the recipe.
Ways to get your children involved:
I have partnered with Natalie Independent Consultant from Pampered chef to help your little kitchen helper get excited about healthy cooking and baking. To learn more about Natalie and kids kitchen products, please click here.
GIVE AWAY ALERT:
Emoji Cookie Cutter Set - an adorable way to get your kids involved in the kitchen and help others.
$1 of all proceeds from this set are donated to Food Banks of Canada.
How to win?
Contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org and say cookie cutters in subject line. Your email will be automatically entered into a draw to win!
Draw will be held on Thursday June 8th and winner announced on Friday June 9th. Stay tuned and good luck. :)
Cheers to getting your family in the kitchen and having fun!
Until next time,
Eat Right Feel Right- Angela XO
Eat Right Ontario (2016). Cooking with kids of different ages. https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Child-Toddler-Nutrition/Cooking-with-Kids.aspx