Shannon's Health Tips Cooking with Kids…A Family Affair If you find your family schedule is just too hectic to get your kids involved in the kitchen, you’re not alone. Time is one of the biggest barriers we have to cooking, never mind cooking with our kids. But here’s the thing. Getting kids involved in the kitchen doesn’t have to be about making an entire meal. It can be as simple as having them add in an ingredient or read out the recipe. Introducing your kids to the kitchen – even in these simple little ways – is something to embrace. Why? • For survival. Cooking is an important life skill that they’ll need to prepare food for themselves when they grow up and move out on their own. If they know how to cook, they won’t have to rely on take-out and packaged meals. • For real-life education. Cooking is a hands-on way to teach literacy (reading recipes), math (measuring ingredients) and science (mixing ingredients). • For Fun! Most kids love to get their hands dirty experimenting in the kitchen. When I asked my 12-year-old son what he loves most about cooking, he told me it’s the creativity involved. “You can make whatever you want, as long as you have the right ingredients”. • It’s a family affair! Cooking with your children is a great way to connect with your family after a busy day or busy week. Some great stories are shared over the soup pot! Not sure where to start? Here are a few simple tips to get you cooking together in the right direction: • Build skills. Start with simple tasks. Children who are new to the kitchen can stir and measure ingredients. Kids with more skill in the kitchen can shred cheese or chop vegetables. Once they are confident cooks, they can help sauté, bake and broil. • Don’t stress. Cook together on weekends when you have a little more time and aren’t trying to rush to get dinner on the table. French toast or fruity skillet pancakes make a great brunch dish that kids can help make for the whole family. • Embrace the mess. Most kids love to get their hands dirty in the kitchen. That might mean your kitchen gets a little messy too. Know that it’s coming and make clean up part of the activity. For more tips and tools on cooking with kids, visit familykitchen.ca.