Exposure to scratch cooking helps kids develop a mature palate and a taste for fresh, wholesome ingredients. The earlier kids become accustomed to nutritious foods, the less likely they will acquire a taste for processed foods.
Kids are much more likely to eat what they make. Is there anything more fun than eating your art project? Cooking creates a sense of ownership. When kids help in the kitchen there are fewer meal-time battles and more willingness to try new foods.
Meals prepared from scratch usually contain more nutrients and fewer calories, chemicals and sweeteners than pre-packaged foods and restaurant meals.
Cooking together provides a natural way to discuss nutrition and the impact that food choices have on the environment. The more educated children are about food, the more likely they will appreciate your suggestions to eat something healthy.
The earlier they learn how to cook, the sooner they will learn an essential life skill. It’s hard to imagine that teaching a three year old how to break an egg could result in culinary protege, but kids often become quite talented in the kitchen. This makes messy floors worth it down the road when they start to cook for you.
Spending time in the kitchen gives them confidence. Kids thrive on feeling accomplished. Cooking is an ideal way to boost self-worth and teach responsibility. There is nothing cuter than watching children proudly serving their food to others.
Preparing meals together means quality time as a family. Cooking with children when they are young offers an opportunity to communicate with them on a regular basis. Your time chatting and cooking in the kitchen together becomes even more important as they reach the adolescent and teenage years.
What else do they learn? Science, language, counting, fractions, budgeting, weighing, sequencing, measuring, problem-solving, sharing, fine motor skills, reader, and learning about other cultures- to name just a few important things!
Excerpt from Easy Meals to Cook with Kids by Julie Negrin © 2010