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 and she would always humour me. As with any skill, practice lead to improvement.
I owe my knowledge in the kitchen to my mom, who always urged me to help her prepare dinner no matter how much I slowed her down. Had it not been for her countless cooking invitations, I would rely more on fast and pre-made foods like many young adults.
Here are five reasons why you should cook with your kids:
1. COOKING IS A CREATIVE OUTLET
It’s important for children to create things and express themselves as they grow up. Cooking is the ultimate creative outlet because it requires so much imagination and innovation (not to mention basic math skills, trial and error practice, patience, and other vital qualities). Teaching your children to cook affords them the skills and opportunity to partake in this art-form.
2. IT CAN CREATE A WONDERFUL BOND
Cooking with your children is going to be the first time they are exposed to working in the kitchen, so do your best to make it exciting (and prepare for a mess from time to time)! If they enjoy cooking with you, they will look forward to it as they grow older, and cherish the memories you made together for years to come.
3. IT SHOWS KIDS 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. Reading labels will not have the same impact on your child as actually watching half a stick of butter being 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.
4. IT TEACHES THE PRICE OF FOOD AND THE IMPORTANCE OF BUDGETING
Part of cooking is grocery shopping, and when you do this 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!
5. IT ENCOURAGES A HEALTHY LIFELONG RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD
Unfortunately, eating disorders are incredibly common among Canadians, especially among teenagers and young adults. 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 food preparation. Cooking meals using nutritious ingredients will influence your children to live in a more healthful way, and help establish a powerful connection between eating well and feeling great. Furthermore, if cooking becomes an enjoyable experience for your children, they are more likely to associate food with positive emotions rather than negative ones.
Learning to cook is often intimidating for young adults, but it’s less so if they’ve had practice as children. Cooking with your kids from a young age is truly a lifelong gift.