1. More than cupcakes.
Many people bake with their kids, but I'd like to see you involving your kids in the preparation of healthy foods and cooking dinner! I rarely bake with my kids but they are often at my bench washing and cutting veggies, crumbing fish or putting cut veggies into the steamer. Many parents struggle with fussy eating, this can be reduced by allowing your kids a hands-on experience with a variety of foods!
2. Allow extra time - it's an activity! Kids may take longer than you to do something or make a little(!?) more mess. That's fine, just start cooking a bit earlier. Think of it as an activity where you can spend time together. It will pay off in the long term, I'm hoping my kids will soon be making dinner for me!
3. Stay with them in the kitchen. You are their guide, so even if you think you can't cook, have confidence. You can learn to cook together! I'm a self taught cook and my mum certainly isn't a master chef, but she put a veggie filled dinner on the table every night, so that's a good cook in my book! Look up simple recipes together. The kitchen is full of hot and sharp things, so teach them to be careful.
4. It won't be perfect, it will be better. Wonky cut carrots cut by my 8 year old are better than my more evenly cut carrots. When my 3 year old shapes the meatballs, they are often too small but I just re-roll them. It's important is that he tries and we keep encouraging and praising each attempt.
5. Teach them to help clean up. Being clean is an important part of cooking. We teach kids to wash their hands before starting. Encourage them to clean up at the end. Helping to put dishes in sink, wiping the tables (my kids love doing this!), washing dishes or stacking dishwasher.
6. Give them age appropriate activities. Make sure the tasks are safe, but don't underestimate their ability. Keep challenging them.
Great meals to cook with your kids (of varying ages) include:
- scrambled eggs
- porridge (my son started by mixing and I would put it on the stove. Now, at age 8, he does it all himself)
- make sandwiches or wraps
- wash and/or cut veggies for salad
- re-heat leftovers
- make sushi (see our recipes section)
- fruit salad
- fruit kebabs
- wash veggies to make salad
- crumb (flour, egg, breadcrumbs) fish, veggies or chicken
- shape meatballs
- cut veggies and/or put veggies into steamer or roasting tray
- sprinkle seeds onto salad or roast veggies
- make frittata or pasta bake
- veggie fritters
What do you like to cook with your kids?