Joe Cooking With Kids

Why cooking with kids is so important

By Joe Wicks

I love getting my children in the kitchen cooking with me. Along with learning to love movement and exercise, I think it’s one of the most important life skills we can give them.

Is it calm, stress-free and serene? Absolutely not! It's chaotic and messy…very messy! But the benefits it has on our children far outweigh any negatives. Plus, it's an investment that will pay off in so many ways.

How did I get started?

When I first started getting my kids involved with cooking around the age of 3, we'd do simple things like letting them stir in peanut butter to their porridge or slice up a banana with a butter knife. We then progressed onto things like whisking eggs in a bowl and making scrambled eggs.

Now, my 5-year-old daughter can use a sharper knife to chop her own veg for a stir fry, knows when the chicken is properly cooked through, and can even whip up her own cheesy omelette for breakfast.

I’m still right there beside her, but she’s fully capable of cutting safely, gauging the heat of the pan and making a really delicious breakfast. Nothing makes me happier than seeing her learn a new recipe – and she is really starting to love it, too.

Cooking with kids

So why do I think it’s worth sticking your apron on and getting dirty in the kitchen?

  • It helps your children fall in love with cooking
  • It forms a healthy relationship with food
  • It helps them become more adventurous with trying new foods
  • It’s a wonderful way of bonding with your child
  • It helps nurture their creativity and inspires them
  • It will set them up for independence with cooking as young teenagers
  • They will learn to read and follow methods and understand portions and measurements
  • It helps children learn to problem solve
  • It could open up a path to a career in food and cooking
  • Being able to understand nutrition can help with their mental health for the future

How you can get started

It's incredible to see how fast my kids have learned and grown in confidence. Here are a few fun ways to get started with your own family.

  • Sit together and look at recipes online or in a cookbook
  • Write a shopping list together
  • Make simple dishes like warm porridge, overnight oats or scrambled eggs on toast
  • Invest in a little cooking kit for them so they feel excited to start i.e. an apron, kids safety knife and a learning tower
  • Let them start cutting soft things with a blunt knife such as banana, pear, melon, roasted carrots
  • Let them stand and observe you cooking things like chicken or prawns in a pan and describe when its properly cooked
  • Show them how to add spices and flavours to stews, stir frys and curries.
  • Let them choose 1 new recipe to cook with you every week. This makes it fun and exciting
  • Let them weigh ingredients using digital scales
  • Another thing Indie loves to do is copy and write down a method in her own words.

When I’m feeling stressed in the kitchen I often remind myself of this question: “If I don’t teach my kids how to cook, who will?”. It really is one of the kindest and most loving things we can do for our children because a child who loves healthy food is setting themselves up for a healthy and happy future.

I hope you feel inspired to get in the kitchen with your little ones.

Much love,

Joe x

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