The evidence is clear: Involving children in the kitchen is one of the most effective ways for them to develop healthy eating habits. Cooking is an incredibly successful tool for helping your child’s academic, cognitive and motor skills development—but it can also be messy, stressful and generally frustrating.
The success or failure of involving children in meal preparation often comes down to how their involvement has been organized and structured. Growing Chefs! can help you learn to organize yourself better in order to make cooking with kids less stressful, more productive and—most of all—fun!
Growing Chefs! at Home is a collection of free recipes and resource videos made for children and families to explore in their own kitchens. The step-by-step videos are led by trained chefs who guide parents and kids through the process of making meals the whole family can get excited about.
Disorganization while cooking with your kids can make or break the experience. The Growing Chefs! website has a growing library of recipes divided into sections to assist grown-ups in deciding exactly where children can be involved in the cooking process. We believe any involvement—from gathering and measuring ingredients to adding the finishing touches to a recipe—is an extremely valuable experience in developing food literacy.
The website provides all the tools needed to get organized, get prepared and get cooking together, with dozens of recipe videos created specifically for kids, featuring our incredible chefs. They’re a fun way to both get the family to try new dishes and to help kids develop their own skills and techniques in the kitchen. And the resource videos for grown-ups will help prepare parents and their cooking spaces to create an ideal environment for everybody. Topics include organization methods, tips for parents with picky eaters, strategies for cooking with children of different ages, and more.
The new Growing Chefs! lesson plans are designed to offer safe ways to continue learning about food while teachers and students are navigating at-home and in-school adjusted learning structures. Learning about food doesn’t need to be dull—these lesson plans aim to help students safely engage with food in meaningful ways, with interactive resources and fun activities.
Make preparation a game
Organize a scavenger hunt for your kids and have them find all the needed ingredients and equipment for a specific recipe.
Turn a recipe into a lesson plan
Cater to your child’s interests to help them develop their skills. If they like math, have them measure ingredients, multiply or divide the recipe; if they’re into science, have them explore what’s actually happening to ingredients in the pan. New readers will love to try reading out the steps of the recipe while you cook and budding artists won’t get enough of plating the meal or setting up a fancy tablescape.
Use lots of bowls
Measure and prepare all ingredients ahead of time and put everything into separate bowls. Bring kids in to mix and stir everything together.
Make cooking educational
Research with kids where each ingredient comes from. Discuss other related topics such as sustainability, culture or gardening.
Visit our website
There are countless more tips on our website, where you and your family can learn about and develop healthy relationships with food. Check out our growing list of recipes, videos, resources and lesson plans to get you started.
We know that cooking with kids can sometimes be challenging, but we’re rooting for you! To try some of the tips above, see what we’ve got growing on and explore our incredible resources available, visit growingchefsontario.ca.
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