Cooking is one of the easiest and most fun ways to engage children. It also opens up a door to talk about health, as well as healthy ingredients and meals! Thanksgiving is an excellent opportunity to bring kids to the kitchen and get them excited about cooking—not to mention, an extra set of hands can be a real help, and spending quality time with friends and family can bring an uplifting sense of togetherness! CHIL has compiled a set of helpful tips below to help you and your children get the most out of cooking together.
1. Use this chance to explain the benefits of things like eating a balanced diet, getting your vitamins, and drinking water.
2. Holiday meal prep is a great time to get kids excited about the importance of wholesome and fresh ingredients! Even if you’re making a not-so-healthy Thanksgiving classic, like jello or cheesy mashed potatoes, emphasize the ingredients that are healthy—like the fresh fruit you’re adding in, or the fiber in the skin of the potatoes.
3. Be aware of safety hazards, turn it into an opportunity for a safety lesson on knifes, hot or flaming surfaces, and oven precautions like wearing mitts. Encourage kids to ask you questions if they have them and let you know if they need help.
4. Even with tip the last tip in mind, don’t forget to have fun! Let kids see how cooking can be an enjoyable part of your lifestyle that is healthy, too. Instilling cooking habits early on can encourage kids to choose fresh over packaged and processed alternatives in the long-run.
5. Finally, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, encourage kids to take time to appreciate what you’ve all made and all the hard work from the many hands that made it possible—from farm to table!
Looking for kid-friendly recipes? The New York Times has complied 55 excellent dishes in their “Kids in the Kitchen” collection. The pureed carrot soup particularly would make a nice appetizer for the holiday! Happy cooking and happy Thanksgiving!