3 Reasons You Should Cook with Your Kids & Tips on How to Get Started - Giangi's Kitchen

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3 Reasons You Should Cook with Your Kids & Tips on How to Get Started

Published on May 23, 2018 | Life

For many people, their kitchen is not so much a room in their home where family members connect and communicate. Instead, it’s kind of a of centralized food storage and preparation area.

Of course, this is typically because everyone is so busy, and “spending time in the kitchen as a family” seems like a luxury they can’t afford. And maybe for some tweens and teens, it seems a little corny and old fashioned! After all, the Brady Bunch hasn’t been on the air for decades.

However, the truth is that families should spend time together in the kitchen, and the best way that I know of to make this happen is for parents to cook with their kids. Here are 3 reasons why this is a GREAT idea:

  1. It Increases Physical & Emotional Health

A study published in the international research journal Appetite found that involving children in meal preparation increased their vegetable intake and encouraged making healthy dietary choices. It also promoted positive emotions.

  1. It Increases Self-Confidence

The New York Times noted that “cooking is a source of pride for the children who can take care of themselves in this way, or feed a friend or sibling. They’re capable of cooking, they know what to do, they can get it done.”

  1. It Encourages Eating Together

As highlighted by WebMD: “Kids are more likely to sit down to a family meal when they helped prepare it.”

Tips on How to Get Started

In light of these benefits, you’re hopefully excited about cooking with your kids (and if you’re a kid reading this, you’re hopefully less “meh…” about it!). But where should you start? Don’t worry. Here are some simple but potent tips that have worked in my family, and I bet they’ll work in yours, too:

  • Take your kids shopping for ingredients and trigger their imagination by asking them how they would present them at the table.
  • If you have younger kids, turn food preparation into a game by having them answer math questions while measuring ingredients, and reading recipes out loud.
  • If you have older kids, encourage them to experiment and build their own unique recipes, which they can give creative names to.
  • Make your kids feel like gourmet chefs by having them taste food while it’s being prepared, and offer suggestions on what to add or change.
  • If it is safe and age appropriate to do so, have your kid pick a night where they are fully in charge of the menu and the presentation at the table (of course, you will be the sous chef). If you have more than one kid, then each can have their own special night. Just make sure that there is no criticizing, and that all feedback is constructive.

Cleanliness & Safety

I also believe that it’s important to teach kids how to clean up after themselves while they’re cooking vs. stare at a huge mess after everything is done (and yes, I know, there are plenty of wives out there who wish their husband would figure this out!). It’s also important to teach kids about food safety and the risks of cross-contamination. This is valuable information that will help them for the rest of their lives.

The Bottom Line 

Life is busy, and even the Brady Bunch didn’t spend their time cooking together (that was Alice’s job, remember?). But just because things are hectic doesn’t mean that you and your kids can’t spend quality time together at least once or twice a week — or maybe more — preparing meals. Doing so will bring you all closer together, and transform your kitchen from a just functional room, into a truly special space!

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