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Kids love to create things and work with their hands. Cooking with your kids is a great way to use their imagination and spend some quality time together. It’s also a great way to teach kids about food, where it comes from and how to prepare healthy meals. Teaching your kids to make healthy meals and eating together as a family has been shown to reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese.

Some benefits of cooking with your kids:
  • Builds self-esteem
  • Promotes eye-hand coordination
  • Teaches valuable lifelong skills
  • Fosters independence
  • Practice with numbers and math 
  • Provides an opportunity to talk about food and important nutrients for growth
  • It’s fun!
It’s also true that kids are more likely want to eat with the family and try new foods if they’re involved in the cooking. When cooking with your kids, let them be involved in the entire process from deciding what to make, to setting the table. This will help build their decision-making skills and gives you a chance to guide them to make good choices, without doing it all for them.

Can start anytime

Kids can start being a part of the kitchen at almost any age. Young kids under age 5 can start with safe, simple duties such as washing veggies, snapping peas, mixing batters and dipping bread in egg for french toast. Older children can do more advanced jobs like cracking eggs, reading recipes, grating cheese and progress to cutting vegetables (with supervision).

If your kids aren’t too keen on the idea of cooking initially, start small with something that they like and that doesn’t take too long (such as fruit smoothie popsicles) and build up to bigger snacks and meals. Baking cookies is a fun thing to do, but be sure to add variety and involve your kids in making healthy balanced meals as well. 

A great recipe to start with is low fat, whole grain pita pizza

Janine Bolton

06/21/2012 1:04am

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