The kids are at home, now what? Teach ’em how to cook!

School is out for awhile due to Coronavirus virus concerns. Now, the kids are stuck at home. But, just because school isn’t in session, doesn’t mean your kiddo shouldn’t learn something new.

Teach ’em how to cook!

Knowing how to cook is a valuable skill they may use for the rest of their life. And a time when you’re stuck inside the house is as good a time as any to teach them about food safety and nutrition.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shared guidelines that kids and adults may follow when it comes to learning about cooking. The Academy is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, according to their website eatright.org.

So, from the credentialed practitioners at The Academy, here are a few tips to teach your kids how to cook.
[ Jump to kids ages  3-5 | 6-7 | 8-9+ | 10-12]

Before stepping into the kitchen: Food Safety Basics

  • Wash your hands (hopefully, this isn’t new information to you at this point)
  • Pull back long hair.
  • Clean the counter tops and keep them clean
  • Wait until the food is cooked before tasting — Don’t let children lick their fingers or put their hands in their mouths, when working with the foods.
  • Avoid double dipping — Don’t put the spoon back into the food after tasting.
  • Young cooks need supervision

Now that you established the basics, you’re ready to introduce the fun stuff. Here is a list of tasks appropriate for each age group.

For 3-5 year olds

  • Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables with cool tap water.
  • Wipe up tabletops.
  • Mix ingredients like easy-to-mix batters.
  • Brush cooking oil with a clean pastry brush on bread, asparagus or other foods.
  • Cut cookies with fun shaped cookie cutters.

For 6-7 year olds

  • Use a peeler to peel raw potatoes, ginger, mangoes and other washed fruits and vegetables.
  • Break eggs into a bowl  (Remember to wash hands afterwards!)
  • Scoop out avocados after sliced in half — It’s probably best the adult slices up the avocado first.
  • Deseed tomatoes and cooled, roasted peppers with a spoon.
  • Snap green beans.
  • Load the dishwasher.
  • Shuck corn and rinse before cooking.
  • Rinse and cut parsley or green onions with clean, blunt kitchen scissors.

For 8-9 year olds

  • Open cans with a can opener.
  • Put leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate within two hours (one hour if it’s warmer than ninety degrees).
  • Pound chicken on a cutting board. Note: Always use a separate cutting board for ready-to-eat and raw foods, and be sure to wash hands with warm, soapy water after handling raw meats and chicken.
  • Beat eggs.
  • Check the temperature of meat with a food thermometer.
  • Juice a lemon or orange.

For 10-12 year olds

  • Boil pasta.
  • Microwave foods.
  • Follow a recipe, including reading each step in order and measuring ingredients accurately.
  • Bake foods in the oven.
  • Simmer ingredients on the stove.
  • Slice or chop vegetables.

To learn more about food safety and cooking with your kiddos, visit eatright.org. Happy cooking!

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