Thursday, July 28, 2011

Getting Children Involved in the Kitchen

One day your little girls will have houses to run for themselves--with meals to cook.  Will they have experience?  Or will they enter into married life without a clue?  Well the best time to start teaching your children is now, yes now!  Today, not next month, but right now (yes, even the boys can benefit).  Unless your children are really tiny babies, they can help you in the kitchen.



Kitchen Interior

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Helping with Meals

At age 4 and up (or younger if you think they are capable), children can "help" you make dinner (or another meal if you prefer).  If they are younger, you could just have them stand on a stool next to you to see what you're doing.  Little ones can help dump in ingredients that you measure for them and help stir.  Just be careful with little ones around open flames--have the older, trained children do that work or do it yourself.  Be sure to talk to your children as you prepare a meal.  Tell them what you are doing, and how much of which ingredient you need as you measure it out.

If you have more than one child to teach kitchen skills to, let them have an assigned day to help you in the kitchen, so they can "take turns".  Most children will love to help you in the kitchen.  Teach them that it is an act of love to cook delicious, healthy meals for the family.  They also need to know it is a necessity for the family to eat!  Be cheerful in your instruction.

Preparations for the Meal

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Choosing Meals

Another favorite thing for children to do to help out in the kitchen is to choose meals.  The children can each have a week in which they choose one breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert that they would like to have.  For younger ones, you can give them a smaller variety of meals to choose from.  My older ones like to go through the cookbooks and pick meals they would like to try.  I then see if we can buy the ingredients and if I have the proper kitchen equipment to make it.  If so then I make a note of what they would like and write down all the ingredients we will need to buy.  We do this a day or two before the weekly shopping trip.  They love this.  I'm sure your children will too.  This teaches them meal planning and also gives you a break with having to plan a meal for every day during the week.

Here is one of the meals my eldest daughter picked.  She chose homemade pizza with broccoli and tomatoes.  At first it sounded quite strange, but she reminded me that in the past we have had store-bought pizza with these toppings before.  I asked her if she would like to add a meat and we did.  You can make little suggestions like this while still letting your children be creative and learn about cooking.  If they come up with something you know will be unappetizing for the entire family, then gently explain this to them.

Here is the pizza sauce getting put together:

Making the pizza sauce

Chopping up the fresh basil for the pizza sauce:


Fresh basil

 This pizza has whole wheat dough that has been soaked in a mixture of water and yogurt.  You can find the recipe in Nourishing Traditions

.

The dough after soaking


The sauce with the basil added, after being cooked down:



Here I had rolled out the pizza crust in the pizza pan.  This recipe can actually make two pizzas, but I just made one larger one this time.

Pizza crust

Here is the pizza with its toppings:



 The finished pizza:




I also picked a Caesar salad to help round out the meal:




Children get excited to eat their favorite meals or try new things they have been wanting to try.  When it is the day to prepare their meals, an extra special treat and training opportunity comes to allow them to help you cook their chosen meals.  You don't have to do all of one child's meals on the same day, but you can spread it out as needed.

I have three different cookbooks (so far) that I allow the children to choose from to ensure that what we eat is not only delicious, but healthful as well.  These cookbooks feature traditional methods of cooking and will bring life to your family:


Nourishing Traditions



The Makers Diet Shopper's Guide


and








The Diet Rebel's Cookbook


Remember, you are training your daughters to one day be keepers at home, and cooking is a life skill that your sons will need to learn as well.

Warm blessings.

9 comments:

  1. You need to come by my blog today for a visit. I have a surprise for you. :)

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  2. Yum..that looks so good!

    I have enjoyed visiting your blog. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

    Blessings,
    Julia (New Zealand)

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  3. Thank you, Dear Mrs. Wildflower!!! :)

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  4. Thank you, Julia for your visit :)

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  5. Thank you for this post and your blog. It is very encouraging! God bless you and happy cooking! ;-) (I'm thinking you might want to post your pizza sauce recipe- it really looks good!!)

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  6. My three brothers and I all learnt to cook from an early age by our mother, she saw the importances of cooking, both for girls and boys. As a result we all can cook and enjoy cooking. I did the same with my two sons (I have no daughters) and both now love to cook and the one who as moved out does almost all the cooking and not his partner. I even give my sons cookbooks as gifts and I want them to both have good recipe libraries.

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  7. Taking part in the kitchen is something our children have always enjoyed through the years. Even our son is getting into baking! It gives them all a chance to work together, accomplish something the everyone benefits from and builds skills they'll take into their own families. Cooking together: what a great thing!

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  8. Oh how yummy! :o) I love it when my kids help in the kitchen. I know a lot of times I don't involve them in as much as I should though. :o) Thanks for the reminder.

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