How to Get Kids into Cooking

Getting kids into cooking can lead to many benefits. As a parent one thing I have always struggled with is getting them to eat good food. A short Google search and it is clear that I’m not alone. Just reading recently I found an article that talked about hows children are losing the ability to cook. This was due to our busy schedules and the rise in the consumption of ‘ready’ meals.

So… what’s the Problem?

My daughter hates fruit and vegetables. When presented with one, she cries, pretends to choke and takes an inordinate amount of time to chew them. I think for her it is more about the mouth feel of the offending item rather than the taste. While my son eats veggies okay, when it comes to getting himself something he will live on weet-bix and biscuits. If it is anything more complex than milk in a bowl then it doesn’t happen.

A Possible Solution…

So I decided to get them cooking. The first time I allowed them to choose what they would make. The girl, who is up for anything, wanted to do the rice. The boy picked the veggies. I know my daughter can help as often in the past she has wanted to help. She is just at that age so it will wear off soon. My son was happy to help. He has really been making an effort in his attitude and is maturing well for a fourteen year old.

And the Results?

I was happy with their choices as I felt that it suited their abilities. Dry rice and water, was perfect for her. There was not much to go wrong and we had a good laugh later when she got some peas ready, and pead all over the bench and floor. I was able to teach my son how much he needed to cut off the sweet potato and carrots. On his first go he tried to cut about 5cm off the top of the carrots, a quick explanation and that was resolved. Having patience here really helps, and I reminded myself that they knew next to nothing. During this I also found that he did not know how to use a peeler, he was using the edge of the blade instead of the cutting surface in the middle. It took him a few goes, but he soon got the hang of it.

In the end I feel they both enjoyed their time in the kitchen, and the next night we tried something more technical. We are also experimenting with dinner at the table, however this is all much easier when one hasn’t worked all day. I think that reminding myself that doing this will help them become more independent and have less fear when that day of moving eventually comes. No parent likes to think about that but not doing so and you are doing your children a disservice. We will see I I have the discipline to continue this plan in the future, I hope so because cooking two different meals a night by myself is REALLY boring.

Feature Image: Morning Brew by Derek Buff (CC BY-NC 2.0)

 

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