5 tips for teaching kids cooking and cooking skills that boost their self-confidence – Daily News
We know that cooking at home helps promote better eating habits. With health in mind, what are we doing to pass cooking skills on to the next generation? Busy schedules can often lead to the consumption of more take-out and reheatable meals, which can save the lives of those with hectic and hectic lifestyles. However, these practices do not help children learn basic cooking skills at home.
Here are some ways to help kids build confidence in the kitchen with these important life skills:
1. Start young
The best way to engage toddlers or those new to cooking is to let them watch you cooking. While toddlers may not yet be able to be of much help in the kitchen, they can safely watch from a high chair or stepladder with a safety rail. Preschool and school-aged children may be given age-appropriate tasks for hands-on experience. While a three-year-old may be able to mix the dough with a wooden spoon and tear up lettuce leaves, a five-year-old may squeeze lemon juice into a bowl or peel a hard-boiled egg.
2. Teach the names of cooking tools
We all have the potential to be intimidated by things that are unfamiliar to us. Culinary tools like graters, peelers, spatulas, whisks, and measuring cups, among other small tools, play an important role in cooking and baking. Young children can become familiar with these tools by learning their names and uses. When cooking with children or grandchildren, be sure to identify kitchen utensils by name.
3. Grocery shopping and meal plan together
There’s no better way to learn about healthy foods than at the grocery store. By coming to the supermarket or farmer’s market, children can learn to identify endless fruits and vegetables and better understand the foods that end up on the dinner table. Children can be taught that cooking involves many steps, from planning meals and making a grocery list, to cooking and cleaning. This is the opportunity to teach about reducing food waste.
4. Build time management skills
Cooking involves other additional skills, including time management. Preparing a recipe means going through several steps that take varying amounts of time. Plus, cooking requires a commitment to follow all of these steps from start to finish. We can’t just put something in the hot oven and walk away. While children in certain stages of development should not be expected to manage their time wisely, they can be taught to respect the process and use a timer to stay focused on their task.
5. Practice simple and timeless recipes
Children who learn the basics of cooking will be able to progress towards more independent work in the kitchen, by preparing simple meals themselves. By the age of eight to 11, children can learn to plan a family meal and play a major role in its execution. Children can learn simple and safe recipes according to their skills and maturity level, such as popping popcorn, heating soup, scrambling eggs, making salad with homemade dressing.
With early exposure and familiarization, children will grow up to become proficient in cooking and better understand foods for a healthy lifestyle.
LeeAnn Weintraub, MPH, RD is a Registered Dietitian, providing nutrition counseling and consultation to individuals, families and organizations. She can be contacted by email at [email protected].