I lingered around my mother in the kitchen and watched her cook while I was growing up. Regularly, she would ask me to try the food and tell her what it was missing even though she knew I was guessing. I would proclaim the missing ingredients to her and she would always humor me. As with any skill, practice lead to improvement. I owe my knowledge in the kitchen to my mother who always urged me to help her prepare dinner no matter how much I slowed her down. Had it not been for my mother’s countless invitations to cook with her, I would rely more on fast and pre-made foods like many young adults.
Make cooking with your children a fun, learning experience
Cooking with your children is going to be the first time they are exposed to working in the kitchen, so make it exciting! If they enjoy cooking with you, they will look forward to it as they grow older.
Here are five reasons why you should cook with your children:
- Cooking is a creative outlet
It is important for children to create things and express themselves as they grow up. Cooking is an outlet for many people because it requires imagination and innovation. Teaching your children to cook affords them the skills and opportunity to partake in this art-form.
- Preparing their own food will show your children exactly what they are eating
When we eat at restaurants or purchase pre-made foods, we can’t always grasp exactly what we are consuming. Ingredient labels and nutrition facts are present on many products and restaurant menus, however, reading labels will not have the same impact on your child as actually watching half a stick of butter be used to baste one steak. When you learn to cook, you control the ingredients and portions. Humans are incredibly visual and seeing the cooking process helps us to understand what we are eating.
- Cooking will teach your children the price of food and the importance of budgeting
When grocery shopping with your children, encourage them to look for items that are on sale. Your children will learn the value of different food items and likely gain a greater appreciation for the food they eat. This can also be a great opportunity to teach them about budgeting!
- Your children will be comfortable cooking with a diverse range of vegetables, herbs, and spices
Every food has a unique nutrient composition. It is important to eat a wide range of foods, according to Canada’s food guide. Learning to cook will make it is easier to include a variety of ingredients into your meals rather than always eating the same things.
- Preparing their own meals will encourage your children to have a healthy relationship with food as teenagers and young adults
Approximately one million Canadians develop eating disorders according to National Initiatives for Eating Disorders. Teenagers are especially susceptible to this as they progress into adulthood. The National Eating Disorder Centre states that prevention can be as simple as living a healthy lifestyle by including your children in meal planning, shopping, and preparation. Cooking meals using nutritious ingredients will influence your children to live in a more healthful manner. Furthermore, if the experience is enjoyable for them, they will associate food with more positive emotions rather than negative ones.
For many young adults learning to cook is intimidating. If your children go through their whole lives never cooking, they will be less inclined to do so as adults. Cooking with your children from a young age will gift them a valuable life-skill that promotes a healthy lifestyle.