Give a child a fish stick, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a child to cook and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.
Forgive the twist on an ancient proverb, but it’s true. As a partner of the Together Counts™ program, we know that basic cooking skills are essential, and a good foundation will set your child up for a lifetime of good cooking- and eating!
Keep it simple- and successful! The recipe, and your expectations, should be age appropriate. Pick a food your child is familiar with (and likes!) for your first culinary adventure.
Plan, Shop and Prep Together. Here’s a chance to impart valuable life lessons. From basic nutrition and budgeting concepts to sharing family history and cultural values, this step is as important as the cooking itself.
Keep it clean- and safe! Stress the importance of washing hands each and every time they prepare food. And while cooking is fun, little ones need a healthy respect for the kitchen and the dangers it presents if they are not careful. Remind them that the oven, stove and knives are no place for their little fingers. Make sure everyone understands that cleaning up is part of the cooking process, too.
Measure up. Basic cooking experiences teach children about math, science and following directions. Let your child practice measuring dry ingredients. For easier cleanup, begin with measuring spoons, not cups!
Have fun! The best way to cultivate culinary kids is to have an experience they’re excited about repeating.
A recreational cooking school Director for over 16 years, Amy Tobin provides expert consultation, recipe creation, and media presentations for some of the best-known brands in food and lifestyle. An inspired public speaker, Amy hosts a weekly radio show, “Amy’s Table,” on Q102 (WKRQ 101.9FM) and makes frequent television appearances. This post originally appeared on The Power of Family Meals.
For more Together Counts tips on getting kids involved in the meal planning process, take a look at these resources: