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How to get older kids cooking

There are loads of fun and instructive ways to interest kids in cooking. Here are some ideas

If it’s your child’s birthday why not organise a cooking party? You can even make invitations out of coloured card in the shape of rolling pins or chef’s hats.

You and your child can choose some fun recipes for the guests to cook. Measure out the ingredients before the party starts so that everything is ready. Let the children work in pairs. Have the instructions for each of the recipes printed out with easy steps for the children to follow. Before they attempt each recipe, read out the instructions and explain or demonstrate each step carefully.

Lunchbox luxuries
Why not encourage your child to prepare something fun and delicious at the weekend for his school lunchbox? Try flapjacks, fruity muffins or even oatmeal raisin cookies. They’re easy to make and you can have lots of laughs whilst cooking. Make extra portions to share with school friends.

Get chopping and peeling
Kids love to get involved in preparing food. It’s better to teach children how to handle kitchen equipment rather than let them experiment on their own – and much safer! By about six years old, you might want to show your kids how to grate cheese and peel fruit and vegetables safely. By around seven or eight – with proper instruction – children can normally be trusted to start working with sharp knives. If it’s done in a controlled way, chopping and peeling can be the first steps to making mini-chefs!

Tasty reasons to encourage your kids to cook
Cooking is a great way of bonding with children – spending quality time shopping for ingredients and actually making the recipes together can be a fun task for everyone involved.

Cooking can involve many different skills from reading and following instructions to solving maths problems like counting, measuring, weighing and understanding time. It can even stretch to geography if you explain where ingredients or dishes originate from and show them to your child on a map

It’s important for children to learn to make simple, healthy food early on to encourage good eating habits in later life. Some recipes that are good to try out with your child are scrambled eggs, spaghetti with tomato sauce, chicken and vegetable stir-fry or fruit smoothies.

Top tips for kids who want to cook

When peeling vegetables, use a vegetable peeler
When chopping onions, leave the root intact so that it doesn’t fall apart
When crushing garlic, bang it first so the skin will peel off easily
When mashing potatoes, use a potato masher
When cracking eggs, tap the centre of the shell over the rim of a small bowl
When making smoothies, use a hand-held blender and keep a firm hold of the plastic beaker
How to test if eggs are fresh – Place the egg in a glass or small bowl of water. If it stays at the bottom it is very fresh. If it tilts up slightly it is up to a week old. If it floats, throw it away

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