by Joanne Mierek, Operations Manager
“Learn how to cook – try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun!”
- Julia Child
Kids and teens who eat regular meals with their families are less likely to be overweight or have eating disorders and more likely to enjoy higher self-esteem and higher school grades. Regular family meals increase prosocial behaviors like sharing and sets the child up for a lifetime of healthier habits. Cooking some of those meals together helps develop math, science, fine motor skills and independence. And it’s fun!
When you are cooking with your child, remember Safety First. Handwashing, pulling long hair back, keeping utensils and work surfaces clean and separating raw meat from ready-to-eat foods are all basic food safety tips to observe.
Keep the tasks for your child age-appropriate. Younger kids can wash fruits and veggies, wipe up surfaces, mix batter, measure ingredients and use blunt scissors to cut fresh herbs or greens. Older kids and tweens can open cans, boil pasta, follow a simple recipe including slicing and chopping veggies, pack up leftovers to refrigerate and do the dishes.
Keep the mood light to encourage your young cook. Kids are word sponges so use specific cooking terms like sauté or mince. Most kids will really enjoy cooking and eating treats, but be sure to cook daily fare together as well to support lifelong skills and better health.
This article was written to promote Family Meals Month for the month of September.