Cooking with kids is a fantastic way to model healthy eating habits, teach about food, use math and counting skills, and teach kids to be self-sufficient. Below are 4 ways to involve your kids in the kitchen.
Dr. Natalie Muth, a local San Diego pediatrician and Registered Dietitian notes “Whenever possible, eat family meals together and model healthy and adventurous eating.”
What better way to model healthy and adventurous eating than by cooking side by side with your child?
Four ways to include kids in the kitchen
- Toddlers and preschoolers can participate in cooking with simple ways like stirring, rinsing fruit and vegetables, or even just helping to choose between 2 items at the supermarket (“Do you want apples or bananas with your lunch today?”). While this age group can take extra patience to cook with, cooking together can help toddlers and preschoolers overcome picky eating tendencies. When kids feel a sense of control over their food choices, they are more likely to try new things.
- Elementary school-aged kids can benefit from the math practice that goes along with cooking and baking. Counting ‘scoops’ or using fractions while measuring and baking is a great real-world way to apply math skills. Baking a delicious treat together makes it a win-win!
- Older kids may be interested in helping to come up with meal ideas or choose from a couple of different recipes. This allows kids to feel included in the family meal planning, even if they aren’t interested in cooking.
- Cooking together is a natural way to discuss nutrition. Discuss how different foods help you to feel healthy and strong. The Myplate is a great tool for creating healthy meals and helping kids learn about “balancing” their plate with different food groups (fruit, vegetables, protein, grains, and dairy). Cooking with kids and eating together is also a great way to model mindful eating skills. Slowing down, savoring food, and enjoying a meal together can help families bond while helping reinforce the important skill of using hunger and fullness cues.
Overall, there are many benefits of cooking together. If you want to learn more about modeling healthy habits for your kids, check out cassandrapadgett.com.