Article

Cooking with Kids



Looking for a great activity you can do at home with your kids? Try cooking! Cooking with kids doesn't have to take a lot of time and work. Whether you have toddlers or teens, your kids will love getting creative in the kitchen. Read on to learn why cooking with your kids is important and get great tips and recipes to make cooking a family hit.

Reasons to get cooking with your kids

Cooking is educational and fun! If your kids get cooking now, chances are they will continue this good habit as they grow older. Here are more good reasons to get your kids in the kitchen.

Sharing family traditions

Keep your cultural roots alive by teaching your kids some old family favourites. While in the kitchen, talk about who taught you to cook and your favourite traditional recipes. You may even want to collect recipes from family members as a gift for your children.

Learning together in the kitchen

Cooking allows your children to learn in so many ways. Your children will learn about:

  • Health: What makes a healthy meal or snack?
  • Language: How do you read a recipe or write a grocery list?
  • Math: How do you measure ingredients and work with fractions?
  • Science: What will happen when you boil an egg or make bread?
  • Social studies: What food is grown in Canada and around the world? 
  • Food skills: How do you stir, chop, knead, pour and scoop?
  • Social skills: How can we work together, take turns and share utensils?

Spending quality time together

Cooking is an easy way to spend extra time with your kids. On a busy weekday, it's a great way to reconnect after a long day apart. On the weekend, it's a relaxing way to have fun together.

Secrets to success

To make cooking with your kids a positive and fun experience, keep these tips in mind.

  • Think safety first. Like many places in the house, your kitchen has hazards. Supervise your kids at all times.
  • Wash up. Teach your kids why, how and when to wash their hands thoroughly before getting started.
  • Keep it simple. Choose recipes that your children can help with.
  • Don't rush. Allow more time than you would need to make a recipe on your own.
  • Give your children a task. Children learn much more by doing than by watching so let them do as much as they can. If they seem to be struggling, ask if they want any help.
  • Keep a damp cloth handy. Help your children tidy up a mess rather than doing it all for them.
  • Don't expect your children to eat it. Your kids will be more interested in cooking if they know there is no pressure to try everything they make.
  • Create a kid-friendly kitchen: Organize the kitchen so that your children can work more independently (with your supervision). Perhaps you need a good sturdy stool or a drawer just for them with their lunch bag, re-useable containers, a plastic bowl, plate and cutlery.

4 "Simply delish" ideas

1. Fish Delish

Mix together the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 125 mL (½ cup) bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dill
  • 1 can of low sodium salmon (drained with skin removed and bones mashed).

Scoop out a tablespoon of mixture, roll into a ball and flatten slightly. Repeat with remaining mixture. Pan fry the salmon cakes over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve with your kids' favourite dipping sauce. For younger children: Young children can help right up until the cooking part and will especially enjoy mashing the potatoes. For older children: With your supervision, they can make the entire recipe.

2. Cheesy chili buns

Chili is a tasty way to introduce beans to your kids as long as you keep the chili spice mild. Cut off the top 1/4 of a whole wheat bun and scoop out some bread. Fill with chili and top with low fat grated cheese. Broil and enjoy! For younger children: Use small dinner rolls instead of a regular size bun. Invite the children to try a plain canned or cooked kidney bean. Let them sprinkle the cheese over top of the chili. For older children: With supervision while they cut the bread and use the stove, older children may be able to make this entire recipe.

3. Peanut butter fruit sandwich

On your favourite whole grain bread, spread some peanut, almond, soy or sunflower butter. Top with sliced or mashed bananas, or get creative with sliced apples, pears or strawberries. For younger children:  Try using raisin bread or even banana bread for a treat. Ask your kids if they want square or triangular sandwiches. For older children: Buy some nut butter and challenge your children to see whether they can smell the difference between it and peanut butter with their eyes closed.

4. Salad in a bag

Put different salad ingredients into a few bowls: torn romaine leaves, sliced carrots, peppers, cucumber, celery, broccoli and cauliflower florets, cherry tomatoes and so on. Let your children select a variety of their favourite vegetables and place them in a zipper-closed medium size bag. Serve with lower fat salad dressing. When ready to eat, let your children pour the dressing into the bag, close and shake it. For younger children: Ask what their favourite vegetables are and why. Then tell them your own favourites. For older children: Ask if they know which vegetables are produced locally in Ontario and which are not.

You may also be interested in

Kid friendly award winning recipes Top 10 easy ways to get teens cooking Have questions about healthy eating and your kids? Call an EatRight Ontario Registered Dietitian at 1-877-510-510-2 or send an email.

Last Update – October 9, 2016

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