Kitchen Time During Festive Season: Cooking Together
By Anne-Marie De Beer, Nutrition, Health and Wellness Manager, Nestlé East and Southern Africa
The holidays are a great time for caregivers and kids to cook together. Families can use this time, away from work and school, to reconnect with each other by cooking together and teaching their families valuable skills. Skills such as how to prepare family recipes, learn how meals/dishes are put together, and the nutritional value behind these foods.
Caregivers who want to cook with their children are often faced with trying to figure out how to make it fun and engaging. Here are some ideas for easy kitchen activities that will make cooking together a fun experience:
Start small and encourage play!
Make kitchen time fun by encouraging play. Getting comfortable in the kitchen goes beyond watching but also involves handling food and cooking utensils. We want our kids to feel like the kitchen is their space. Allowing kids to handle ingredients, wash produce, or even simply play with toys within the cooking area creates a connection. Set up a “sensory activity” like allowing kids to use measuring cups and spoons to practice scooping and levelling. You can take this a step further and let them measure the basic ingredients such as sugar and flour, and let them sift it afterwards (if that is what the recipe requires)
Make up songs for simple tasks and make it fun
Humming a song, putting on your child’s favourite soundtrack, or creating your very own cooking jingle, can lighten the mood for both of you. This is very effective when teaching kids skills that require patience like stirring slowly or taking turns. Children will learn to love cooking if you relax and have fun with them in the kitchen. Give the children an opportunity to experiment with your guidance and only step in when it's necessary, otherwise let them enjoy and create.
Embrace the mess
Cooking is messy, there is no way to completely avoid it. Kids learn so much from exploring. Don’t mind the mess, let them be creative and have fun. Wiping down the counter or washing up dishes can be a mutual activity.
Create food art and encourage their imagination
Make healthy eating fun for kids by getting creative at mealtimes. Presenting food in the form of a picture or simple pattern, or decorating the rim of the plate, can make it more exciting and enticing for children. Animals and faces are always popular, and broccoli and cauliflower make excellent trees! Why not let kids cut carrots and cucumbers with cookie cutters, into interesting shapes like hearts, stars and diamonds.
Encourage your kids to be imaginative in the kitchen. Give them free reign when decorating their cookies or challenge them to create a fruit-salad rainbow or vegetable animals. Turn it into a contest to see who can come up with the best design. But remember, everyone is a winner as they all get to enjoy a delicious prize.
ROLL, ROLL, ROLL THE DOUGH
Get your pre-schoolers involved teaching them about the dough. Helping to roll out or kneaddough will give their muscles a good workout, and they’ll be amazed when they see the results of their labour.
Children tend to eat more of the healthy food on their plates when they help prepare it. There are lots of tasks that your children can help with. Washing, grating, or mashing are all fun activities for kids. And don’t forget the washing up too!
For fun recipes and more tips, visit the Nestlé for Healthier Kids site: www.nestle-esar.com/N4HK
Nestlé East and Southern African Region (ESAR)
Tel: 079 526 8518
Issued by Weber Shandwick on behalf of Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region
Tel: +27 73 357 8133
Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. It is present in 187 countries around the world, and its 291,000 employees are committed to Nestlé’s purpose of unlocking the power of food to enhance quality for everyone, today and for generations to come. Nestlé offers a wide portfolio of products and services for people and their pets throughout their lives. Its more than 2,000 brands range from global icons like Nescafé or Nespresso to local favourites like Ricoffy. Company performance is driven by its Nutrition, Health, and Wellness strategy. Nestlé is based in the Swiss town of Vevey where it was founded more than 150 years ago.