Why it’s important to teach kids to cook
By Helen Burgess from Little Cooks Co
Knowing how to feed ourselves is one of life’s most important skills. It’s as important as knowing how to read, write and talk – we can’t stay alive without food!
Our busy modern lives have developed many solutions for feeding ourselves without needing to cook – fast food, takeaways, ready meals – but there are problems with relying on these too much. Firstly, it is disempowering – if children never learn how to cook, then they have no choice but to rely on them and secondly, they are very rarely as healthy as a homecooked meal! When you cook a meal, you know what goes into it and don’t have to worry about the long list of often unintelligible ingredients on the back of packets!
This is my passion. I want to help empower children by teaching them how to feed themselves in a way that helps rather than hinders their health. Understanding where food comes from, how to cook with it and why it’s important for their health. If today’s children understand these things then I believe there will be a sharp reduction in the rates of chronic diseases we are seeing today – obesity, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, even mental health problems.
But there are lots of other reasons for why cooking with kids is a good thing to do.
- It’s where memories are made – there is something magical about time spent cooking together in the kitchen – it’s why for so many of us our earliest and happiest memories are of times spent helping in the kitchen. It’s when life-long memories are made and often when children feel free and safe to talk more openly about their lives and feelings
- It helps combat fussy eating – children who cook eat more veggies! It creates a sense of ownership that means children are more likely to try what they’ve cooked (what’s more fun that getting to eat your own art project?)
- It helps develop a sense of responsibility and accomplishment – kids thrive on feeling accomplished. Cooking is a great way to boost self-esteem and teach responsibility. There is nothing more lovely than watching children proudly serving their food to others
- It develops a wide range of skills – science, language, counting, fractions, budgeting, weighing, sequencing, measuring, problem-solving, sharing, patience, fine motor skills, reading…
- It teaches them about food and where it comes from - the more educated children are about food, the more likely they will be to make good choices. Both in terms of what food they choose to eat but also about where their food comes from
- It’s healthier and more nutritious – meals prepared from scratch have more nutrition and less nasties than pre-packaged food and restaurant meals, and you get to control the quality of the ingredients
- It develops creativity – it’s pretty amazing for a child to be part of an experience that turns a few separate and disconnected ingredients into a delicious whole!
- Eating together – when a child cooks a recipe, it is usually enjoyed together as a family, and that creates magic moments for family connection.
About YOU CAN cook tasty food
Get chopping, get mixing and get cooking!
The how-to book for kids who love to cook and bake. It’s easy to understand and tells them exactly what they need to know step-by-step.