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Nutrition Month 2018 - The Potential to Discover: Five Tips for Cooking with Kids

2018-03-08

The Potential to Discover

Foster healthy eating habits in children by teaching them to shop and cook.

Starting from a young age, inspiring children to shop, cook and prepare food can set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating. A great way to teach children about food is to let them shop and cook with you. Yet, a recent Ipsos survey found that 38 per cent of parents rarely or never let their child prepare a meal or snack – it’s a missed opportunity, but it can be easily fixed! This Nutrition Month, dietitians want to remind you of the power of discovering food with your children.


Five Tips for Cooking with Kids

It’s fun and rewarding to involve kids in meal preparation – whether it’s at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here are five tips for getting your kids involved:

  1. Pick a recipe together: Children need to be part of the plan from the beginning, and it helps if they prepare something that they love to eat. Shop for groceries together too!
  2. Incorporate learning: Build on lessons they learn in school, such as math, social studies, media literacy, spelling, science and reading. Younger children can practice fine motor skills.
  3. Keep it fun! Imaginative play helps children get deeply involved. Make a theme night or turn your kitchen into a restaurant or reality cooking show.
  4. Be a role model: If you’re excited, they will be too. Try a new food, describe the flavour and be adventurous to inspire your eaters to do the same. Get other members of the family involved.
  5. Be cool about the mess: Spills and accidental messes happen, and it’s important to remain calm about little mishaps. Keep kitchen towels handy for cleaning up spills.

 

In Your Neighborhood

Do you want to inspire your kids with food? Here are three ways to get started:

  1. Head to your nearest grocery store or farmer’s market and taste something new.
  2. Call your local public health department or boys & girls club to see if they offer cooking programs for children.
  3. Check the children’s programming at the local supermarket. Many offer grocery store tours, food demos and cooking classes for children.

 

What Can My Child Do?

Here’s a guideline of kitchen skills based on age:

  • 2-3 year olds can wash vegetables and fruit or tear lettuce and salad greens
  • 3-4 year olds can mash potatoes and bananas or mix together batters
  • 4-6 year olds can measure dry and liquid ingredients or set the table
  • 6-8 year olds can toss salad ingredients together or make a simple breakfast
  • 8-12 year olds can make their own school lunch or help to plan meals
  • Teens can follow more complicated recipes or assemble and mix most ingredients. They can also be in charge of making one meal per week.

 


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