Adlen Robinson: Teaching Your Children to Cook
Teaching your children how to cook is such an important life skill to pass on. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a chef, you can still teach your kids the basics.
Sure, young children need constant supervision, but when they show an interest in cooking from the youngest age, encourage their interest by letting them “help” you as much as possible. Tweens and teens are certainly capable of preparing and cooking a meal. Just be sure to give them some simple recipes that won’t overwhelm them.
One of the best things to encourage your kids to cook is to learn about real food. Anyone can open a can of soup and reheat it in the microwave.
But cutting vegetables and making vegetable soup isn’t much more difficult and tastes infinitely better. In fact, once you’ve tasted a homemade soup of any sort, you’ll have a hard time eating the canned versions.
Opening a jar of marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce is quick, but making the homemade version only takes a little longer and is so much tastier. Plus, the homemade type has half the amount of sodium as the store-bought variety – and of course, doesn’t have all kinds of additives and preservatives.
You can find quality marinara and spaghetti sauces in grocery stores now, but don’t even get me started on their price tags! Just make your own! Once you make it yourself a few times, you’ll marvel that you’ve already purchased the sauce – plus it freezes wonderfully.
Speaking of sodium, teaching your kids how to cook is a great time to teach them how to read ingredient labels. A good rule of thumb when it comes to ingredients is simple: if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, you don’t want to consume it. Also look for ingredient lists that don’t contain more than four or five ingredients. For example, the best type of peanut butter has one ingredient: peanuts. The best type of applesauce has one ingredient: apples. You got the idea.
So where to start ? Start by preparing an action plan for a cooking lesson. When making your weekly meal plan, choose days when dinner time is not very busy – a night when no one has extracurricular activities, for example. Also choose a meal you know your child loves (spaghetti and meatballs are good) or cheeseburgers and roasted potatoes.
For novice cooks, it’s best to wait for dishes that have multiple steps – lasagna is a family favorite and isn’t difficult to make, but it takes a lot of prep steps and might frustrate someone. one that begins in the kitchen.