How to Get the Kids Interested in Cooking
There aren’t many parents who wouldn’t wince even slightly at the thought of cooking with young children. The time spent and the mess made can sometimes be overwhelming and daunting, especially when your to-do list is already a mile long, and there already aren’t enough hours in the day. However, healthy eating habits start when you’re young, so getting your kids interested in food can help them learn lifelong healthy eating habits, keep an open mind about food, and teach them how to prepare meals at home for themselves and others. Here are the best ways to involve your little ones in the kitchen.
Get excited yourself
Chances are if you’re not enjoying the activity you’re doing, it will translate to your child, and they won’t be into it either. You don’t have to be an avid chef to appreciate good food and good recipes, but you do have to get excited about cooking at home. If you want your kids to be excited about cooking, get the ball rolling yourself, and they will match your enthusiasm.
Take them grocery shopping with you
Getting your kids’ input from the beginning of the whole cooking process will help spark their interest in what they eat. Let them choose a new fruit or veggie to try with their next meal, and for kids a little older, get them involved in meal planning by picking a theme and having them stick to it. They are much less resistant to trying new foods if they had a hand in making them, so don’t panic about introducing new ideas and flavors for them to experiment with.
Let them cook
Every time you cook, it’s an opportunity for your kids to learn, so why waste it? Skip the takeout and get your hands dirty in the kitchen with the whole family. Get your children involved with the cooking by letting them have small tasks, such as measuring, adding and mixing ingredients, snapping or tearing veggies like peas and lettuce, and peeling fruits and vegetables if they’re old enough to handle a knife.
Take classes with them
Hands-on experience from experts is always a great way to learn and have fun while doing it. Plus, if you go to a cooking class, you don’t have to worry about any huge messes to clean up later! Find out what kind of foods your child is interested in learning about and cooking, and then find a class to match. There are even stores that hold chocolatier classes as well as selling fine chocolate if you’re looking for a class that’s a little more out of the box or focused more on desserts.
Engage in discussion
There’s so much to talk about when it comes to food! The flavors, textures, colors, and all the different combinations you can create are all worth discussing as you cook and while you eat. Ask your child what they think about each ingredient and how it adds to the food while you’re cooking them, and then have the same discussion after while you’re sitting down to eat. Conversations like these can change how your little one thinks about food.