November 2023 Newsletter – Connecting with Foods from Around the World: Cooking with Children

Cooking with Children

One of the most effective ways to get children to explore new foods is to include them in the preparation of the food. There is something about the ownership and pride that come along with preparing recipes that make children excited to try a new dish.  In early learning environments, these opportunities may be limited due to developmental constraints, but opportunities exist, nonetheless.

Younger children can stir and mix ingredients while older children may be ready to chop ingredients and use electronic kitchen equipment.  You probably have an idea of what the children in your care are capable of when it comes to preparing recipes.  We encourage you to consider that the children may be ready and capable of even more than you expect.

There are a number of resources that you can turn to as you expand cooking opportunities in your program.  Cooking with Kids, Inc. (cookingwithkids.org) is a nonprofit organization based in Santa Fe, New Mexico that strives to provide fun and positive experiences with healthy foods. They highlight the academic benefits of cooking with children, including the many math and science concepts that are reinforced through culinary experiences.  Their website includes a list of recipes representing cultures from around the world.  They also provide videos in English and Spanish that provide tips for cooking with children.

Another resource that you might find helpful comes from Teach Nutrition by the Dairy Farmers of Canada’s Registered Dietitians. On their website, you can download a kid-friendly resource that illustrates:

  • Measuring techniques
  • Cutting techniques
  • Mixing techniques
  • General preparation techniques such as how to crack an egg and washing fruits and vegetables

The Food Network also provides simple recipes and food preparation ideas that can be engaging for younger children. One example is the activity of decorating mini pancakes using sliced bananas, strawberries, apples, etc.  This is a good example of a way to introduce a new fruit to children, by including the new fruit along with the fruits children are used to eating.

 

For the main article Connecting with Foods from Around the World, CLICK HERE

For the article Exploring a Variety of Foods, CLICK HERE

For the article The Value of Honoring Diversity, CLICK HERE

For the article Integrating New Recipes and Practices, CLICK HERE