Cooking with Kids

  1. More kids are cooking. A national youth trends survey found that 88 percent of kids aged 6 to 17 fix meals and 26 percent aged 9 to 17 usually make meals for their family. The latter is up from 15 percent in 1995.
  2. Make the most out of measuring by turning it into a mini math lesson. Use the recipe as a jumping-off point. For instance, if a recipe calls for a quarter cup of liquid, ask kids how many quarter cups equal a cup and measure it out with water. They'll enjoy seeing firsthand the practical application of math learned in the classroom.
  3. Kitchen experiences can increase your child's self-esteem, self-confidence, imagination, creativity, and curiosity.
  4. When kids make their own food, they eat better and learn valuable life skills, such as healthful eating and safely preparing nutritious food.
  5. Prompt kids to get interested in food by giving them simple tasks like washing vegetables or mixing and measuring ingredients.
  6. Spark your children's interest in food and cooking by having the whole family explore your culinary heritage.
  7. Getting your kids to help you shop is an excellent way to encourage them not only to learn more about the food they eat, but also to shop for it wisely.
  8. Let kids make their own lunches as a way of familiarizing them with handling foods safely, expanding their palate, and ensuring that they have lunches they like and will eat.
  9. Always supervise your children when they're using appliances. Show them how they work, what they're for, and how to operate them safely.
  10. Teaching children to read recipes gives them a head start as cooks and strengthens their organizational skills.
  11. Help kids succeed at stir-frying by giving them small amounts of foods to cook at a time. They'll be less likely to flip the food out of the pan, and it will be easier for them to master the constant tossing motion.
  12. Overzealous young cooks can get into trouble with their curiosity. Anticipate your children's actions, especially when it comes to touching and handling things. To this day, my daughter Lizzie remembers the time she touched the burner because she wasn't sure if it was hot. She'll never do that again.
  13. Food art can become a vehicle for introducing kids to new foods, improving eating habits, and teaching nutrition.
  14. Explore new cultures by cooking foods from other countries with your family or with friends.

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