When it comes to ensuring that your child gets the right skills in place early on, there are many obstacles to overcome. Child development is a complex subject and there are many different ways to approach it. Regardless of your approach, there’s no denying the fact that helping your children learn the basics of a healthy diet through cooking has an immeasurable value to their lives. But what can you do if you are trying to teach your kids to enjoy cooking early in life, but you’re seeing that their engagement levels in the activity just aren’t there? Here are some tips you can use in the kitchen time and time again!
Remodel your kitchen
You should always start out by talking about the importance of cooking in a good environment. The ideal climate plays a major role in the preparation and presentation of a proper meal. For this reason, a new kitchen remodel might be just the thing you need to spark your child’s intrigue in learning how to cook.
Kitchen renovations have many additional benefits as well. A new kitchen can help to reignite your own passion for all things culinary if you’ve noticed that it’s lacking as of late. And there is perhaps no better way to get your child excited about something than for you to be excited about it yourself. Every healthy diet starts in the kitchen so make sure yours is up to the task of cooking day in and day out!
There are many aspects to consider when you’re speaking with a contractor about your kitchen remodel project. Fire alarm systems, for one, are an absolute essential, especially if you want to be certain that you’ll pass each and every home inspection that you need to. Your creativity comes in when you’re looking at more specific details such as tiles, countertops, and appliances. Feel free to let your imagination run wild so you can create a kitchen environment that is conducive to teaching your children the joy of cooking a great meal.
Invest in the right equipment for your kitchen
Taking the next logical step from a remodeled kitchen, you should be sure to invest in high-quality kitchen equipment. No detail should be overlooked here. Even skimping out on things such as the right measurement tools can make the process of cooking a lot less enjoyable than it might otherwise be. If a child is particularly averse to learning about cooking, then you need every tool possible at your disposal. Sometimes a fun new part or accessory can intrigue them enough to promote the motivation needed for learning in the kitchen.
Catching certain trends in the kitchen is a good way to generate interest in cooking as well. Take, for example, the prevalence of CBD oil in many modern culinary dishes. Because of its relatively new popularity, it’s an ingredient that has spawned lots of interest among cooks of all kinds and experience levels. Looking at popular health diets is also a great way to find new dishes. As a fun game, you might try allowing your child to choose a few ingredients to make a meal out of. This kind of participation can sometimes provide just the spark they need to develop their passion for cooking.
Seek professional help
If you’re not a great cook, there’s no shame in seeking some professional assistance. In fact, doing so may even help you to learn a thing or two as you are also providing inspiration for your child. Asking for help also shows your child that it’s okay to reach out if you’re feeling overwhelmed in any part of your life. Certainly, you wouldn’t feel any hesitation about enlisting the help of trusted child care professionals, so why would you worry about getting a helping hand in the kitchen?
There are many kitchens, culinary schools, grocery stores, food co-ops, and other local institutions that offer regular cooking classes for those who are interested. Attending a cooking class is a great way to interact with your child in a new, exciting way while also teaching them valuable skills that they can take with them into the kitchen. You may also try checking out the upcoming events at your local public library, as many times the library offers unique culinary events and cooking classes featuring traveling chefs and other members of the culinary community. There are always ways to get help in the kitchen, you just have to be resourceful and look!
Try different cooking methods
Don’t just stick to one approach to your cooking. If you’ve only been using the oven for most dishes, for example, try introducing your child to cooking with fire. Cooking food with fire or heat is a uniquely human activity. While archeological evidence for cooking only goes as far back as 1 million years ago, cooking may have started 2 million years ago. Teaching your child the proper safety methods for cooking with fire is, of course, an important step. You may discover that they prefer this approach over other more common methods of meal preparation.
Whether you choose to cook with fire or not, switching up your cooking style can lead to fun discoveries in the kitchen. Play around with fermentation. Explore the rich world of baking. Giving your child a broad view of all the different ways in which foods are prepared is one of the most effective ways to discover what makes them excited about learning to cook. By following their interests you are far more likely to assist them in enjoying every aspect of the culinary experience. Use their input and adjust things as you go!
Make stuff you and your child both like
Sure it might be tempting to allow your child to choose the menu each and every night, but the experience of cooking together is much better when you’re making a dish that everyone involved can enjoy. If you know that your child has a favorite dish that they love, then you can start by teaching them the step by step process of making it. Once a child sees the work that goes into creating their favorite flavors and textures, they may be even more inspired to learn and do more in the kitchen.
On a similar note, it’s a good idea to take your child shopping with you to buy ingredients to cook their favorite meal or dishes. The process of finding ingredients for a meal creates a fun little adventurous outing that you can share together. It also further reinforces the labor that goes into preparing a meal. Such comprehensive processes are excellent learning opportunities that children can take with them throughout their lives.
If you’re on a specific health diet, then you can explain the details of the diet to your child and show them which foods you can or cannot eat. This can be another great way to find dishes that both of you enjoy making in the kitchen. It can also serve as an excellent lesson in nutrition and dietary quality. You never know what might get your child interested in the world of food and cooking.
Don’t forget to have fun with it!
Amid all the considerations of finding recipes, buying ingredients, and preparing meals it can be easy to lose sight of the reason you’re doing it in the first place. If you ever notice that you’re not having fun while cooking with your child, then that’s a good time to take a step back and have some fun with it. Cooking should never be dull or boring!
Like most activities, if you can make cooking fun for your child then the chances are much higher that they will want to do it again and again. If you have a child who is more visually stimulated, then consider doing a meal that is bright and colorful. Get some eggplant, zucchini, and other brightly colored vegetables to showcase the rainbow of possibilities within certain dishes. You could also focus on the sounds of certain foods for another fun exercise. Carrots and celery are great here as they make wonderful crunch sounds that children tend to find fun! Just make sure you’re mixing up your activities often enough and you should never have any trouble finding fun in the kitchen.
Check out some recipe books for inspiration
Whether you’re following a strict healthy diet or not, recipe books are always a prime source of inspiration for both professional and amateur cooks alike. There are many different ways you can approach finding new recipes, too. For example, you could explore recipes that go by regions of the world. One night you might take a recipe from a Mexican cookbook, while on the next night you could travel to Italy for a meal. Interested in plant-based recipes for your child’s next meal? Find a cookbook that doesn’t use any meat or animal products. There are so many different options available to you and your child so there’s no excuse to not discover some new recipes today!
Not sure where to go for recipe books? Try your local library. Most libraries have extensive collections of recipe books that cover all different kinds of criteria. If your child is more interested in baking, then feel free to explore that section. Have more of a knack for braising and grilling? There’s an abundance of recipe books on those subjects as well. In many ways, recipe books provide a fertile ground for culinary exploration and innovation when you’re teaching your child how to enjoy the process of cooking a meal.
Don’t just cook at the same time of the day every time
As any busy parent knows, schedules can be difficult to coordinate when you have children. However, whenever it’s possible you should try to mix up the times that you cook with your child. If you are always making dinner with them at your side, then try doing a morning breakfast session instead. Often times a different time of day offers a whole new world of culinary dishes, tastes, and palettes that can provide just the refreshing novelty you’ve been looking for.
This is where it’s also helpful to ask your child’s opinion. Is there a certain health diet that intrigues them? Do they prefer cooking in the evening time, during the middle of the day, or in the morning? Taking their preferences into account can help you make decisions that allow them to enjoy cooking even more than they currently do. You may also be able to get their insights on why they enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner more. Making adjustments to your cooking schedule as you go is a great way to gauge your child’s engagement in the process.
Practice kitchen safety at all times
Because cooking with a child can be so fun, it can also be distracting. However, you should always be sure that you’re sticking to kitchen safety rules at all times. There is no better way to turn a child away from cooking then for them to experience a problem or injury as they are cooking a meal.
First and foremost, you should always ensure that the child understands which surfaces are hot and which are okay to touch. The same goes for sanitation. Make sure you and your child are keeping all work surfaces clean and free of contamination. Dishes and utensils should also be cleaned and sanitized along the way. Of course, certain dishes, such as chicken, should have special attention placed on them when it comes to kitchen safety. Regardless of the considerations that go into any healthy diet, you should never neglect having you and your child clean your hands before each and every session in the kitchen. Reinforcing these safety habits will help your child have a safe, enjoyable time as they help you prepare a meal.
Try out some new healthy diets
Even though not every healthy diet is going to be right, it’s a fun process to learn about some newer health diets and try them out in the kitchen. Teaching a child how to enjoy cooking is also about teaching them to understand the importance that the food they eat has on their overall livelihood and well being as they grow and develop. Many modern health diets offer a clear demonstration of this principle.
Not sure where to start? Try making some dishes that are plant-based or vegan. You could also look into more specific health diets such as Paleo or gluten-free diets. There is no shortage of healthy diets for you and your child to explore in today’s world. Each of them offers a different angle on diet and nutrition that can serve to illuminate new dishes and flavors the next time you’re in the kitchen looking for something fun to create. You don’t have to commit to any certain health diet forever. Allow your child to choose some of their favorite dishes so you can keep them in mind for the future.
Cooking is a valuable lifelong skill that everyone should have. By following these simple tips, you’ll have a much easier time ensuring that your kids love to cook early on in life. Good luck and bon appetit!