Kids in the Kitchen: The Benefits of Including Your Kids in Cooking & Meal Preparation by Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND
Sharing family meals at home has been linked to a higher intake of healthy fruits, vegetables and dairy products for a balanced meal, with less fat and calories. But getting your kids involved in the kitchen can offer your child even more benefits. Here are three reasons to encourage your kids to get involved in the kitchen:
- They’ll learn to appreciate healthy meals. In addition to following their parents’ healthy food choices, if given the opportunity to select ingredients or help with the cooking, kids will more often appreciate healthy foods they’ve helped to prepare.
- Their imagination and confidence may increase. Does your child love to celebrate that he or she has done something “all by myself”? When kids are able to prepare something on their own, and proudly share it with others, it can boost their confidence. As they continue building their skills, such as learning to follow recipes, encourage them to be imaginative – they may start creating recipes of their own!
- They’ll develop their coordination and attentiveness. The process of cooking – following recipes and steps correctly in order to get a delicious final product – allows kids to practice focusing on and completing a task. Partaking in activities like stirring, mixing ingredients, chopping vegetables or rolling dough is a great way to also enhance their strength, control and hand-eye coordination.
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