Cooking Together, Growing Together

Cooking is a lifelong skill that has many benefits for everyone involved.

It is never too early to teach young children the ins and outs of the kitchen. Having kids help in the kitchen may add time, but it’s time well spent.

Chopping, mixing and measuring can lead to a variety of learning experiences. It’s a great reason to spend quality time with everyone in the family that will leave children excited about eating healthier, all while creating fond memories.

Here are some reasons kids definitely belong in the kitchen:

  • Brings families together: Cooking time is ultimately a chance to open up dialogue with kids. It is an opportunity to get to know what is going on in everyone’s lives. Communication is key as children grow in to their teenage years.
  • Learn basic cooking skills: Cooking is a basic skill everyone should know how to do, just like riding a bike, reading a book or driving a car. Time flies by fast. Soon children will be off on their own and in charge of feeding themselves. Many college students have no idea what to do in the kitchen, which could lead to eating out, excessive spending and unhealthy habits.
  • Teaches the importance of healthy eating: Grace Derocha, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, states that cooking together can teach the family to enjoy healthier options, which means children are significantly more likely to carry healthy eating habits with them into their adulthood. Incorporating fruits and vegetables in new recipes is a great way to teach little ones about diet and nutrition.
  • Can help with picky eaters: When children use their own hands to make the food that is prepared, they are much more likely to eat it. This is a great way to incorporate new, healthy recipes into a child’s diet. Studies show that it takes 10-15 exposures before a person develops a liking to that food.
  • Develops life skills: Successfully making a delicious recipe will allow kids to feel a sense of accomplishment. It is a great way to build self-esteem, which will carry over into other aspects of their lives. Cooking doesn’t just teach children what to do in the kitchen, it allows them to learn problem solving, organizational skills, how to plan, cleanliness habits and teamwork.
  • Creates memories that last a lifetime: The experiences that are shared over a mess in the kitchen are memories that cannot be created anywhere else. While in the kitchen, traditions can be passed down through each generation in a family. Every family has a hectic schedule. Allow cooking time to be a place to connect with one another, share stories and form memories that you can cherish forever.

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Photo Credit: Rene Schwietzke

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