There are so many amazing benefits to getting your kids in the kitchen and helping to cultivate a habit that will last a life time. Here are 10 of the many reasons to get your kids in the kitchen today.
1. Develop skills and knowledge to make healthy foods
Research shows that people who eat home-cooked meals, on a regular basis, are healthier and consume less sugar and processed foods. Teaching our children to use dates, honey, or maple syrup instead of white sugar or avocado oil instead of canola oil can make a huge difference in our health. Adding nutrient dense super foods like chia seeds to muffins or flaxseeds to meatballs is also a great way to elevate the recipe and take your health to the next level.
2. Pass down the love of cooking to the next generation
I learned to cook thanks to my mom. I have many fond memories of my mom and I making oatmeal cookies and birthday cakes together. I’m thankful that my girls, at the ages of 7 and 10, love to cook as well and am hopeful they will pass down their love of cooking to the next generation. I believe passing down the love and skill of cooking is a great way to pass on the gift of health from one generation to the next.
3. Encourage children to try new foods
Cooking and baking is a great way to encourage kids to try new foods. In my kids cooking classes, kids are always eager to dive right into their creation after all their hard work. Parents often share how shocked they are that their child ate a whole spinach pancake, a sweet potato muffin, or a stuffed pepper and then asked for more. I have found kids also have fun trying each individual ingredient as we create together in the kitchen. Some are even brave enough to try fresh garlic or grated ginger! Raising adventurous eaters and shaping young tastes, takes time, patience, and experimentation. Remember creating healthy habits is a marathon not a sprint.
4. 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.
5. Help parents in the kitchen
My girls are becoming more and more independent in the kitchen everyday. I can see in the not too distant future that they will be able to help out with more and more kitchen tasks, making dinner easier, quicker and more fun! My oldest is in charge of keeping our house well stocked with muffins which is one item off my to due list. I’m working on developing a team of cooks in my kitchen. My dream is one day, to have my girls cook a whole meal for my husband and I, while we sit and enjoy a glass of wine together in peace. How wonderful does that sound?
6. Quality time together
Cooking with your child can be a special time together allowing for connection while doing something that is fun. Several of our chefs, shared that one of their favorite parts of our virtual cooking classes, is the opportunity to do something special with their mom or dad. It is a time to slow down and focus on each other, creating something nutritious and delicious together.
7. Encourage Creativity
Spending time in the kitchen is a wonderful opportunity to allow your children to get creative. One of my girls’ favorite activities is a “family bake off.” We partner up and each team develops our own recipe from scratch and then we have fun doing a taste testing. During my cooking classes, I often remind kids that they are the chefs and they are in charge of making any recipe changes they wish, whether it is adding a spice or swapping out one ingredient for another. I love to see what they come up with and sounds good to them. Making snack trays is also a great way to encourage creativity through playing with color and design. Check out this fun tray one chef made using fruits and veggies!
8. Build confidence
I love to see the proud look on kid’s faces after they made something delicious! It is always fun for kids to share their hard work with others and hear friends and family rave about how good their muffins or veggie nuggets are. You can see the smile slowly get bigger and bigger as they hear all the encouraging words.
9. Practice and develop their math, science, and reading skills
There are many skills involved when following a recipe, including reading the directions, using fractions, adding fractions (if you want to double the recipe), learning about equivalent fractions, basic counting while blending in the food processor, and science, learning how to make baked goods rise and why sun butter turns green when baked, one of our favorite science experiments! I love being able to apply the skills kids learn in school to real life.
10. Practice their fine motor and hand eye coordination
Stirring, measuring, squeezing, grating, pealing, and cutting are just a few of the kitchen tasks that allow young children to develop their fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills in a fun, natural, exploratory way.
Looking to get your kids in involved in a cooking class? I offer virtual cooking classes for preschool and elementary school age children. Check out my offerings and what we are cooking here. We have fun trying new foods, developing our kitchen skills, and learning that “healthy” food can taste good too! As a mom of two young girls, certified health coach, and educator, I’m always looking for ways to get nutrient-dense foods into children. Loading baked goods with veggies is a great place to start. Want to try some recipes at home? Give these Spinach Chocolate Chip Muffins or Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins a try and let me know how it goes. Hope to see your kids in my kitchen soon!