Farm to Fork Summer Fun!
Learning to cook is such an important life skill that is often overlooked. Ideally, we let children help with meals on a regular basis and allow them to gradually gain more skill and independence in the kitchen. I’m guilty of feeling that it’s just faster and easier if I do it myself. However, there are many benefits to having kids involved in the process from farm to fork. For one, cooking with your kids is quality time spent together. Another bonus is how it may entice children to try new foods and keeps math skills fresh. Also, meals made at home are typically more nutrient rich and lower in sodium.
Summer break is meant for kids to have opportunities to have fun enjoying the great outdoors. Being involved in the meal process can be part of this experience. Growing vegetables in your backyard, going to a local farmer’s market or going to a “You Pick” farm is a great start to help peak a child’s interest. Take it a step farther by freezing or canning leftover berries, peaches or tomatoes that won’t be enjoyed right away. Instead of a frozen pizza, make the pizza dough and let family members choose the toppings.
Keep in mind that the kitchen may get messy and children may not do things the same as you. Over time, encourage them to take more ownership while the parent acts as the “sous chef.” Spending time together is what matters most. For some, it may help to sign up for a free program such as Chop Chop Cooking Club for monthly inspiration or purchase a kit from Radish Kids to provide recipes and more.
Whatever it takes, try not to put this important skill on the back burner.