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Why cooking with kids matters

Why cooking with kids matters
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After a busy day at work, the last thing you might want to do is spend time in the kitchen with the kids. After all, encouraging them to ‘help’ you prepare a meal will probably lead to extra time being spent on cooking and an awful mess to clear up afterwards. However, teaching children to cook will have a positive impact on their lives, it’s never too early to start. Even if you limit children’s cooking endeavours to weekends, it’s definitely worth letting them get stuck in and find their way around the kitchen.  Here’s why:

Obesity

It’s hardly news that the UK has a problem with obesity. It’s estimated that around one in four adults and one in five children are now classed as being obese, with many more falling into the overweight category. Obesity has serious health consequences, such as a higher risk from Type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease and some forms of Cancer. It can also affect mental health. Teaching children to cook healthy, homemade foods encourages them to think about what they are eating and make healthier choices. It also makes them less likely to reach for ready meals and fatty foods as adults.

General health

Takeaways, ready-meals and processed foods are often high in salt, sugars and fats, which don’t provide all the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy body. Teaching children to cook meals from scratch means they are more likely to opt for more wholesome foods. Research by the School Food Trust suggests that children and families involved in cooking classes are more likely to recognise healthy foods, with more desire to eating them. Of everyone who took part in one of the Trust’s Let’s Get Cooking programme, 92% said they went on to use their new skills at home.

Why cooking with kids matters

Variety

A healthy diet should include all the major food groups. However, this is often easier said than done, children often go through phases of being picky eaters. Introducing your kids’ taste buds to a new food or recipes can be made easier by getting them to help in the preparation. If they’ve put the effort in and enjoyed making the meal, they will be more excited about eating it too.

Self-esteem

Children get a sense of accomplishment through cooking. Even if they’ve only helped with the basic tasks, they feel they have contributed to the meal and family life. This feeling of achievement is particularly important for kids who may not be academic or sporty. Praising kids for a tasty meal that they’ve helped prepare can do wonders for boosting their self-confidence.

Cooking is a skill that your children will be able to use for the rest of their lives. Not only is it useful, teaching your kids to cook can also be fun. It offers a chance to chat and catch up while you prepare the food and wait for it to be ready. Most kids love cooking, if encouraged from a young age, will be happy to carry on experimenting in the kitchen well into adulthood.

 

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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