I do a lot of cooking at home with E (he’s 4 years old) and I aim to cook a recipe with him once a week (usually on a Friday, his day off nursery and my day off work!). Being a foodie, I enjoy doing it and he is eager to learn and get involved and so it’s a great way to spend time together. One of the reasons I cook with him is to increase his familiarity and acceptance to new foods to help aid mealtimes, so it reduces the chance of him rejecting it at the dinner table, as he has helped prepare it.
My top tips for cooking with children:
- Firstly RELAX! Embrace the mess, it’s a great way for them to learn through play. Let them dip in and out of helping and don’t make them stay with you if they don’t want to.
- Make sure you have all ingredients beforehand, so it doesn’t require a last minute dash to the shops with the kids in tow, this can take the fun out of it for everyone.
- Cook a variety of sweet and savoury recipes over time, to celebrate all foods so they are on the same hierarchy and an even playing field. Don’t use labels such as ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’, to show that all foods fit as part of a balanced diet.
- Don’t cook anything too extravagant and keep it simple! Consider what jobs they can help with before you start. Scones are a great recipe for weighing, mixing, rolling and cutting out circles from the dough and also brushing the tops.
If you’re short on time, offer smaller jobs, they’ll find them just as rewarding! Such as cracking or whisking eggs, picking herbs, grating cheese (supervision needed dependent on age!) and grinding pepper.
Quick and easy recipes that I like doing with E include pancakes, pizza, smoothies and any recipe that requires cracking eggs (his favourite job!).
Will you be cooking with your kids this half term?! Let me know, if so X