Folks who have known me for a while know that my kids spend a lot of time in the kitchen with me. Some of this is because we have food intolerances and dietary restrictions, and some of it is because my mother always had us in the kitchen, too. My girls have been adding ingredients to my cooking since they were toddlers. Can it be frustrating? yes. Is it messy? yes. Have I ever needed to completely redo something? yes. Is it worth it? absolutely!
I’ve found that the girls become more invested in meals they help make, which means they are less likely to make a fuss about the food. And that’s always a good thing! BG and MG are great at reading recipes and measuring, while LG (5 1/2) is a very enthusiastic stirrer. I can now delegate a lot in the kitchen to the girls, and they are thrilled to be a part of the cooking. I do kick them out when I am been incredibly busy or short on time, but I try to do that infrequently. The more the girls follow our recipes and cook with me, the more they know. With their food restrictions, they will always need to cook for themselves, so it’s best to start early!
With some supervision and guidance, a microwave, an oven, and a stove, kids can start experimenting with recipes. I know very few kids who wouldn’t leap at the chance to try making dessert. Once you have them hooked, also encourage them to slice fruit or veggies for a salad, and then you can step up to adding seasoning for a soup or sauce… Kids can be so much fun in the kitchen, and it’s a great way to spend time together and eat healthy, homemade foods!