Kids in the Kitchen

 
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what’s in it for you (and them)?

Children love making things. It’s fun and fills them with joy when they can see their achievements and receive praise for their efforts.

When it comes to getting them to eat food that’s good for them, they’re more likely to try it if they’ve had a hand in its production. And when introducing a new food, research shows that touching, smelling and tasting on repeated occasions will greatly increase the likelihood your child will like it.

what kids can do to help

In today’s fast-paced family life, children can be very helpful with meal preparation. They can help set the table, cut up veggies and make their own school lunches. The sharing time spent in a warm kitchen filled with wafting aromas can also create indelible memories and special family bonds.

Important food and nutrition lessons are best learned in the comfort of one’s own home kitchen. Besides cooking, children can also improve reading skills by reading the recipes, and they learn math skills by measuring, halving or doubling ingredients.

They also learn about teamwork and organisation.

how to cook with kids

Set some kitchen rules. Hand washing is essential. Also, limit them to using equipment appropriate to their age. This is an important safety consideration.

Pick a new food to feature and help your children learn about it. A good way to do this is by visiting a farmers’ market and tracing a particular food’s origin. This helps connect kids with nature—the real source of food.

appealing, enjoyable recipes

Start with simple, kid-friendly recipes, such as fruit salads, sandwiches, smoothies or muffins.

Let older children pick a recipe. Ageappropriate cookbooks and recipes are available on the Web. Check out http://www.sanitarium.com.au/recipe and click on Kids Cooking.

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Sue Radd is one of Australia's leading nutritionists and health communicators. She also advises law firms, providing expert nutrition reports for use in court cases.