Five keys to getting your kids to enjoy cooking

Wouldn’t it be great if your kids loved cooking? They’d be less fussy eaters, probably more healthy and spend less time on those dreaded devices! Also think about when they’re a bit older and you can kick off your shoes and put your feet up when you get home because it’s your kids’ turn to do the cooking….and you’ll know that it will be good. Sound like bliss? Well, there is a downside: this requires patience and be prepared to do lots of the prep and washing up yourself. Still on board? Read on….

Empower them

Get the kids choose what they will make. Obviously this could be disastrous so the trick is to make them think that they have chosen by giving them a choice of, say, three options.

Make it quick and easy

Do the prep beforehand e.g. cut the veg or meat. Can’t be bothered with all that? Just buy it prepped from the supermarket or get your butcher or fishmonger to do it for you 🙂

Eliminate faffing: lay out all of the ingredients beforehand so that it is all ready, put chopped ingredients into bowls. Have all your utensils ready.

At this stage the aim of the game is to get them to enjoy being in the kitchen. Forget about making everything from scratch. This is the perfect time to use ready-made sauces and blends of ingredients. Our falafel and tagine blends are perfect for kids as they require such little effort – a bit like those cake mixes you get.

Forget complicated side dishes and garnishes. Cous cous will provide the perfect carb, as will ready made flatbreads. Choose a compliment that maximum is fun when eating e.g. mini flatbreads will make it more like finger food (yes, it’s messy but it’s worth it if it means they’re eating the veggies!).

Make it fun

Kids love to play at being grown-ups. Making them feel like they are putting a show and they are in charge will encourage them to give it all they have.

You could ask them to play at being a celebrity chef and pretend to host a cooking show in your kitchen.

How about getting them to arrange their own dinner party? There are so many variations to this it’s unreal. They could host a dinner party themselves, they could invite friends and ask each friend to bring a dish, they could even do you a “Come Dine With Me” style competition or you could host a Ready Steady Cook competition.

Make it special

Having made the meal, it’s important that they enjoy eating it. Lay the table table nicely that they feel like it special occasion. Be sure to compliment the dish, let the kids put their feet up whilst you clean up (sorry!)

Make it memorable

All of the ideas in this post require effort, but they are a lot of fun and have the potential to nurture family ties. Be sure to film the activities. Looking back on them will put a smile on your face… after you’ve gotten over the trauma of having to clear up after them! It will also remind the children about how much fun they had in the kitchen and encourage them to give it another go.