Cooking with kids – from digging to dishing up during the lockdown

Cooking with kids – from digging to dishing up during the lockdown
Opinion: I imagine those with children are looking for ideas to keep them occupied so they can work from home and hopefully stay sane. This could mean reading, puzzles, boardgames, art etc. It could also mean teaching your children to cook or to help you in the vegie garden. It might be a hard sell, especially to some older children, but it's no doubt rewarding to grow your own food, see an improvement in their cooking skills, spark an interest in nutrition, introduce new flavours and textures to family meals and, perhaps, make breakthroughs with picky eaters. The tasks delegated to children will differ and be determined by a few factors, such as age, food preference and the child's overall interest in food.

Try giving younger children tasks like cracking and whisking eggs, measuring ingredients, mixing a dressing, or using scissors (safe ones) to chop ingredients such as fresh herbs.

Slightly older children might have more involvement. They may even get to choose the food you create or champion the main meal one night a week on a regular basis. Try to encourage them to pick a recipe that the whole family can eat and enjoy. 

It's also a great time to experiment with new flavours and cooking techniques. Try to add spices, ingredients and textures you normally wouldn't cook with.

This may feel impossible, or you may have tried before, but just remember it can take a few times (i.e. 12-20) before a child will accept, or even try certain foods.

The sooner children know about where food comes from the better. 

If you have a vegetable garden, encourage your children, especially if they are young, to help you collect and wash the vegies. 

If you don't have a vegetable garden, could you?

If a child is involved from digging the garden to dishing up, you would hope two things: one, that they're encouraged to eat the food grown, especially as they have been a part of the process, and two, that they realise vegetables don't start their life looking supermarket chic, and are  imperfect and covered in dirt.

If any of these suggestions are simply not an option for your family, no drama. Do your best to eat well during this time and hopefully have genuine connection over meals together – there's a lot to be said for that.  

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