Here are a some quick answers to the questions that keep us cooking:
Why should families cook meals at home?
It’s healthier and more cost effective than dining out regularly. You’re the one in control of the ingredients that go into each dish, and you can always find healthy options for any recipe. Plus, you control the portions! Meal planning will help you keep a well-balanced diet. Don’t forget– being in the kitchen and around the dinner table together is quality family time that’s worth its weight in gold!
Why are cooking lessons good for children?
Cooking crosses many curriculum boundaries (in school and at home). Cooking teaches independence, encourages curiosity and develops problem-solving skills. Plus, if your kids are in the kitchen with you, they’re not playing on your phone, computer or sitting in front of the TV. It gives them a sense of accomplishment, and they’re less likely to turn their noses up at what you put on their plates if they helped get it there. Cooking is a life skill that your kids can and will rely on long into their adult lives.
As a parent, what if I “don’t know how” or “don’t like” to cook?
If you don’t know how to cook, start with some “quick and easy” dinner recipes. You can find about a million online. Ask your kids to search for “great dinner ideas” or pull inspiration from any of the hundreds of cooking shows that seem to be on TV these days.
Challenge yourself to cook dinner once or twice a week. Learning together with your kids can be a great bonding experience, even if every meal doesn’t exactly turn out perfectly. If you don’t like to cook, see if you can rope your spouse, partner, friends or neighbors into joining you. Make cooking a fun event instead of a chore, and you might find that cooking dinner is more enjoyable than you remembered.
Should my toddler really be helping prepare a cooked meal?
Yes! No matter how old you are, sharp knives and hot pans are dangerous. So, you should always be mindful of your child’s safety in the kitchen. But, yes, there are all sorts of skills that your toddler is developing that can be nurtured in the kitchen. Start slow. Have your child focus on one activity at a time. And, expect the process to take longer than if you were doing it on your own.
Small children can help wash vegetables, sprinkle spices, measure, scoop, cut (soft items like bananas with a dull or plastic knife), pour and hand mix. Plus, there’s the ever-important role of taste tester!
Will reading Kitchen Club Kids stories get my picky eater to try new things?
Definitely! The more familiar your kids are with healthy foods, the more likely they are to pick ‘em up on the plate and pop ‘em in their mouths. We’ve seen this firsthand in our own households. Plus, when kids help with the preparation they feel some ownership and have a vested interest in the meal.
If you have any questions you'd like us to answer about cooking with kids, why we believe it's never too early to get kids active in the kitchen, or if you just want to share you stories, please contact us! We'd love to hear from you.
Industry opinions about cooking and nutrition:
"I've heard all of the explanations—time, cost, after-school activities, lack of cooking skills, picky eaters, etc. But ultimately, I think the real reason parents … are comfortable feeding their children from boxes and drive-thrus isn't due to a lack of love or concern. It's because society has been so firmly and conclusively duped into believing that doing so is both safe and healthful that it has become our new normal."
Yoni Freedho, MD, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Medical Director of the Bariatric Medical Institute, Author, Award-Winning Blogger
"Teaching nutrition to children early and often is the key to developing healthy eating habits. Cooking projects give children a boost in confidence, exposure to new and/or healthful foods, and often provide the curiosity and motivation needed to continue cooking at home."
Connie Evers, MS, RD, Childhood Nutritionist Expert and Author How to Teach Nutrition to Kids
"Because cooking reduces obesity and reducing obesity reduces disease. Get a couple of hundred thousand kids cooking now and who knows what might happen in 20 years?"
Mark Bittman, NY Times Lead Food Columnist, Author
Industry opinions about the Kitchen Club Kids collection:
"This book series provides a great foundation for establishing lifelong healthy eating habits while building math and reading skills. Teaching today's children about the importance of making nutritious food choices is a vital component to growing a healthy body. The quality time parents invest in the kitchen with their kids to make these recipes is priceless!"
Lori Post, Licensed and Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Owner of Nutrition Matters by Lori Post, LLC
"I adore everything about these books. They’re incredibly colorful, fun, educational, and they provide the ultimate bonding opportunity for parents of young children. Families that cook (and count) together, stay together! I wish these books were available when my boys were young; they’re true treasures and an excellent way to teach healthy eating from day one."
Robin Miller, Nutritionist, Best-Selling Cookbook Author and Food Network Host
USNEWS.com, Health and Wellness. Eat + Run: You'll Gladly Die for Your Children; Why Won't You Cook for Them? by Yoni Freedhoi, April 2013.
NYTIMES.com, The Opinion Pages. Kitchen Little by Mark Bittman, May 2013
CDE.CA.gov, California Department of Education. Teacher Tips: Cooking with Kids, via Feeding Kids newsletter by Connie Evers, January 2014