In this months long post Im going to promote the benefits of cooking with your kids. It is never too soon to get your kids involved in healthy eating. Kids love the attention, so cooking together is a great way to spend time together. Cooking is a life-long skill that involves many teaching opportunities, like following directions, using maths skills, as well as encouraging creativity and having fun tasting nutritious, new foods. Kids can start cooking as young as 2 years of age, once the tasks are age appropriate.
Your 2-3 year-olds can help with: Sorting ingredients, rinsing vegetables or fruits etc
Your 4-6 year olds can help with: Counting and doing simple measurements, setting the table etc
Your 7-12 year olds can help with: Selecting which recipes the family will share, reading and following recipes etc
You can get more of these ideas from the SuperKids Nutrition website in the US (see https://www.superkidsnutrition.com/PDF/cooking-and-safety-tips.pdf), whose aim is to SAVE THE WORLD ONE HEALTHY FOOD AT A TIME. They have also linked in with a Cancer Research Institute to highlight what we as parents, can do to protect our children from developing cancer later in life (called Healthy Kids Today – Prevent Cancer Tomorrow Campaign). This American Institute states that if we all eat smarter, move more and stay lean, about 1/3 of the cancers that occur in the U.S. could be avoided (https://www.superkidsnutrition.com/healthy-kids-today-prevent-cancer-tomorrow-campaign/.(https://www.superkidsnutrition.com/healthy-kids-today-prevent-cancer-tomorrow-campaign/.)
If you haven’t got your kids involved in the kitchen before; start simple and small eg adding toppings to a pizza.
To get kids more interested you may like them to attend a kid’s cookery school, class or camp. There's lots of places throughout the country, but some Galway examples include:
- Healthy Cooking Summer Camps run by Healthy Ever After (Nutritional Therapists) in GMIT, see https://www.healthyeverafter.ie/event-calendar/booking/booking. All of their recipes are built around familiar family favourites with a healthy twist like healthy pizza (with no refined sugar or salt used).
- Classes and cookery parties run by Kate’s Place Café and Cookery School in Oranmore, see http://galwaycookeryclasses.com
- Weekly cooking and baking classes, as well as holiday camps and birthday parties, run by Loughrea Kids Cook, see https://www.facebook.com/kidscookingandbakingloughrea/
I sometimes find that its easier to get younger kids involved, before they get more interested in Lego, reading etc. Younger kids really like to help out and ‘do what adults are doing’. If you feel some tasks are off limits due to safety concerns there’s an excellent product called KiddiKutter knives (the worlds leading brand of child safe knives). These knives are designed for children from just 3 years of age, to cut their own food safely. This ingenuous knife will cut anything that a sharp knife can but it won’t cut kids fingers (due to the rounded serrations of the stainless steel blade).
They come in 5 colours (red, purple, green, blue and pink) so kids can choose their favourite. They are BPA free with an easy grip handle and are dishwasher safe. Check this link out for a demo of them in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmbZ8LLlKJ0. These are available to buy online from Kids Cook (who are the only Irish retailer) and sell at €12.95 including free delivery, see https://kidscook.ie/product/kiddikutter-kids-safety-knife/.
Kids Cook is a kids cookery school located on the border of Dublin and Meath. They run lots of camps, classes and cookery classes including after-school cookery classes, parent and toddler baking classes, school tours and cookery courses for teenagers (https://kidscook.ie).
As a result of contacting them, Kids Cook have kindly given me a sample KiddiKutter knife for my 3 year old. He’s absolutely delighted that he has his own knife, in his favourite colour and he now can do lots of jobs that he couldn’t do before like chopping veg. He’s even started to eat little pieces of veg that he normally wouldn't eat. I'm obviously delighted too.