Cooking at home is not just about getting dinner on the table. Creating meals together benefits your family in many ways, well beyond helping ensure everyone in the household likes what they eat.
Here are five reasons to involve children in meal prep:
Kids learn a lot
It’s amazing how many skills are involved in cooking: reading, following directions, using math for quantities and measurements, discovering scientific processes in cooking and baking, cooking together also involves teamwork, communication and valuable life lessons like meal planning and budgeting.
Help others fight hunger
Another meaningful life lesson is teaching kids about giving back to the community. By choosing local products or those which have a charity tag attached to them, one can also bring in an element of humanitarianism.
Establish healthy lifelong habits
Choosing recipes featuring fresh produce boosts your family’s health while establishing good habits for life. For example, try substituting every kid’s favourite – French fries – with this healthier versions that have a lesson attached. Consider, baked avocado fries or baked sweet potato wedges.
Cooking is creative
Once your children have mastered cooking basics, let them be creative. Learning what flavours go together, and increasing their knowledge of ingredients makes cooking about much more, than following directions. Encourage kids to experiment with recipes or create their own. Start with a recipe that’s easy to customise.
Mastering cooking tasks helps your child develop feelings of competence. Consider your child’s age, and supervise for safety. Children’s abilities vary greatly, so start by allowing children to measure, stir, or garnish – adding tasks as they get older and gain experience and skill.
Orange, Mango and Banana Smoothie Ice Pops
This is an easy recipe that kids will love to make. Step back and supervise, let them take the lead.
1 mango, sliced
1 large orange, juiced
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
Place mango, banana, orange juice and yogurt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into moulds and freeze for 2-3 hours, or until frozen.