Best way to instill healthy eating habits in children from the young age is to cook with them! It’s such a fun activity to do together and one of the most worthy investment of your time. Sharing here my 3 tried and true tips for raising little chefs. This post may contain affiliate links, see disclosure for full info.
If you read my blog you know that I often talk about creating healthy eating habits for the entire family. You model positive behavior at home when you prepare nutritious homemade meals, keep a variety of fruit and vegetables on hand and avoid fast food. Even better, if you get your children involved in preparing healthy meals with you!
Most kids are curious and want to help out in the kitchen. But sometimes it might be challenging to juggle all the responsibilities of a parent. Below I’m sharing my 3 tips for cooking with kids so that it’s fun for everyone involved!
Tip #1 – find The Day
As busy parents we often want to get through meal prep as quickly as possible, and sometimes we inadvertently shut down children’s interest in helping with cooking. Trust me I get it. Come evening time, there are endless kids activities, homework, playtime, etc. Or we’re just plain tired and we want to kick it back on the couch.
My advice? Plan for it! Find one day a week – usually on a weekend – when you’re a bit more relaxed and make it The Day when your littles help you cook! It could be as simple as cookies (everyone loves that!) or a fried egg, or as complicated as making dinner for the family! Start small, have them pass utensils to you, mix the ingredients. My kids LOVE mixing food in pots and mixing bowls! Once they are more comfortable, you can give them more challenging tasks like chopping and handling pots on the stove.
Using plastic knife set , currently under $9 on Amazon!
Tip #2 – find The Cookbook
Bright colorful cookbooks designed for kids are a great way to get them excited! My son is a huge fan of Kid Chef Junior, a fun cookbook with a bunch of easy recipes for kids ages 4 and up.. There are lots of visual guides and pictures, easy to follow instructions, and really fun recipe names! I mean, who wouldn’t want to create a Magic Unicorn Toast, Smashed Silly Face Guacamole, Sunshine Soup, or Surprise Brownies?
I usually let my son browse through a cookbook and select a recipe. Next, he writes down a list of ingredients for the recipe and we head to the store. I think it’s super important for children to see all steps of a cooking process so that they know how much effort goes into making a meal.
I like that Kid Chef Junior tells you what tools to gather before you start cooking. It’s such a good habit that helps young chefs get familiar with kitchen essentials!
Kids Cooking Essentials
I waited forever to allow my son chopping food. An safe way to introduce your children to chopping food is with plastic knives designed just for kids. They are really cheap on Amazon and are worth every penny!
My son is using this knife set in photos: Curious Chef
Knife finger guard for extra protection
Chef mittens for your young cook
This 4 piece set will make a fun Christmas present
This 30 piece chef caddy is the ultimate gift for an aspiring chef
So in love with this breakfast cooking set!
If you’re reluctant to spend money on children’s cooking essentials, think how exciting it will be for them to use bright colorful tools! They’ll be begging you to allow them to cook for you! Upcoming holidays are perfect for gifting a little kitchen cheer for your littles!@
Tip #3 – find The Groove
Right before we start cooking with kids, I quietly mumble a little mantra: “things will get messy and we will laugh about it”.
Just as with anything else children are starting to learn, they will make mistakes in the kitchen. More often than not, flour will spill all over the floor, your favorite cup will break and eggs will end up cracked right next to the bowl they were meant for. And that’s ok.
There’s nothing more discouraging to a child than being reprimanded for giving something a try. Instead teach them to laugh it off and try again! These are all important lessons in life for the young ones, in the kitchen and out.
So tell me, what are your favorite tips for cooking with kids? I’d love to hear your favorite things to make together!
Have a wonderful rest of the week!
Photography by the amazing Anne Roberts. If you’re in Las Vegas area – look her up!