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Getting children active in the kitchen

I’m delighted to introduce my first Guest Blog post written by Josie of ‘Cook with Josie’, based in Charlton Kings.

Josie Houghton of Cook with Josie based in Charlton Kings

Before lockdown began, Josie ran a cookery school for pre-school children through to adults, teaching a variety of cooking skills from vegetarian and vegan recipes, to the perfect cake!

She is passionate about getting both children and adults excited about cooking, and teaching them the benefits of a healthy diet. While Josie hasn’t been able to run her usual classes, she has continued to provide some tuition online, as well as producing incredible brownie tray bakes and other baked goodies.

I hope you enjoy reading Josie’s article, all about the importance of getting children in the kitchen, and if you’re interested in her classes or getting your hands on some of her delicious brownies, you can find her contact details at the end of the blog.

P.s. Keep an eye out on my Facebook page for a tasty competition coming later this week!

A mum and her son and daughter, children baking in the kitchen

There are enormous benefits to getting children active in the kitchen from a young age. Not only is it fun, but they will learn valuable skills that will affect their future health and well-being. Cooking encourages children to try new and different foods they may not have tried before, whilst educating them about making healthy choices in their diet.

Safety First

Safety in the kitchen is obviously of paramount importance, particularly where children are involved. Discuss with your child the basics of fire safety – talk to them about how fires can start, and consider having a fire blanket and make sure they know how to use it. Turn pan handles away from you so they’re not accidently knocked in to.

Get into good practice by washing hands regularly and wearing appropriate clothing. Discuss with your child how food can be stored safely and the importance of using different boards and knives to prevent the cross contamination of certain foods.

Get hands on

A child as young as two, with supervision, can help weigh and mix ingredients with their hands or wooden spoon, and use cutters to create their own goodies. Older children can help prepare fruit and vegetables, giving you the opportunity to talk about the nutrients in food, along with the benefits to their health.

Threading prepared vegetables onto skewers ready for kebabs, making and kneading dough, adding toppings to a pizza, and making thumb print cookies are all ideal for beginners. A basic omelette is a wonderfully simple meal that kids can help with – cracking the eggs, whisking them and grating cheese are all jobs that children can get involved with. If there’s egg shell in the mixture, does it matter?! Everyone has to start somewhere.

Be prepared for the mess; cooking can create lots of splatters and washing up, but this gives the opportunity for children to learn how to clear up after themselves, which is another lifelong skill.

Gadgets galore

Children love using gadgets. Anything from a garlic press to a mini food processor, hand whisk or bashing basil in a pestle and mortar to make pesto. For younger children, child safety knives are very useful; teach them how to hold and cut vegetables safely so that when they are ready for sharper knives they can use them confidently.

Useful skills

Measuring, mixing, cutting, counting, rolling and mashing are just a few skills children will learn without even realizing it at the time. Meal preparation, planning and budgeting are important parts of education, which will serve children well for when they leave home or have their own families.

The most important thing is to have fun, start with the basics and don’t worry too much about the mess! It won’t be long until they can cook you a meal and pass on their new recipes to you with new found confidence. Happy cooking!

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