Cooking with kids is transformative. Here are 9 reasons to get your kids in the kitchen today:
1. Establish lifelong skills
I believe, that knowing how to cook is key to living a long and healthy life. Although kids are not independently cooking from the start, they are developing the habit of cooking and that becomes their “normal.” Children notice how often we are cooking our meals. What is seen as “normal” in your family? What habits do you want your children to have as an adult? Habits are hard to change as an adult. Of course, it is possible to change habits later in life, but it is much easier to establish the habits you want your children to have as an adult from the beginning.
2. Develop skills and knowledge to make healthy foods
When I think of my girls as teenagers and adults, I want them to have the knowledge about how eating certain foods make them feel. Oftentimes, it is hard to find store-bought food that is going to fuel our body, so knowing how to bake and cook healthy snacks and meals is one of the most important habits I want to pass along to my children.
3. Continue the cycle by passing down cooking skills to the next generation
I’m grateful for my mom teaching me how to cook and develop a passion for cooking at a young age. I started learning how to cook as soon as I was able to stand. My girls started helping out in the kitchen around one, washing veggies, holding spoons, and mostly just observing. As they grew older, they started ripping lettuce, stirring batter, patting cookies, rolling balls, greasing cookie sheets, measuring ingredients, and eventually cutting fruits and veggies with a child-appropriate knife.
4. Encourage trying new foods
I find my girls and students in my cooking classes are much more likely to try food that they helped prepare. They are invested in the process and are excited to try the “fruits of their labor.” Often, getting children to try a new food can be challenging. Having them involved in the kitchen can be a great first step to opening up a whole new world of possibilities.
5. Help kids develop an appreciation for cooking
When kids are involved in the cooking process, they begin to appreciate all the time, effort, and dishes that go into getting food on the table. Sometimes, children may think that food magically appears on their plates. Having them help out, helps them to readjust their thinking and develop gratitude for the chef in the house.
6. Help parents in the kitchen
I’m not there yet with my 5- and 7-year old, but I’m looking forward to the future when I can give my girls a few tasks, and without any hand-holding or reminders, the tasks will be completed. Dinners will be easier, quicker, and more fun! I’m working on developing a team of cooks in my kitchen, instead of just being a solo act. If you get your kids in the kitchen, one day they will cook FOR you instead of WITH you!
7. Prepare young chefs to cook for themselves and their parents!
My main goal is passing along my skills and love in the kitchen to my girls so they can take care of themselves as they become young adults. However, as a bonus, I’m looking forward to the day when my girls happily offer to cook my husband and I dinner! I may be dreaming, but I have high hopes that this will become a reality someday.
8. Encourage sampling foods while cooking
I have noticed a nice perk of having my girls help out in the kitchen, whether it is baking muffins or making kale chips, is I often find them nibbling as we cook. They sample new foods or snack on foods they may not otherwise choose to eat.
9. Create quality time together
Creating something delicious and healthy in the kitchen with your children is a great way to spend quality time together.