Here at Foodwise, we have a real passion for helping children and teenagers develop the skills for cooking healthy balanced meals. Giving children the opportunity to cook, explore and enjoy different foods can have an array of benefits. This can include a more positive relationship with food, developing healthy eating habits, enjoyment of good food and cooking as well as developing the skills when they are living away from home.
In 2013, a survey found that less than 40% of British children could cook 5 savoury dishes by the time they left school. This can have a huge effect on the health and wellbeing of this generation, leaving them without much choice but to purchase ready made meals and fast foods. Something we all know can be costly both in our purses and for our health. In some cases, children can lack the basic culinary skills of whisking an egg or peeling vegetables. This can also prevent the children from understanding what a variety of foods are, influencing their ability to lead a healthy balanced diet.
FoodWise tries to make a difference to these statistics by teaming up with the Eikon Charity. Starting at Kings College Guildford with the view to broaden our horizons to other schools in the community. Our sessions are around 6 weeks long, depending on the term and within these sessions we cover a variety of bases. From ‘what is a healthy balanced diet?’, to dietary practices to support mental wellbeing and aid exam stress.
But, teaching children and teenagers to cook is not something that can only be done at school. So here are some tips for getting our youngsters cooking at home with as little stress as possible!
- Choose simple recipes. The recipes on our website are created to be quite basic with easily obtainable and budget friendly ingredients. Similarly, typing ‘simple snack ideas’ into Google will be a great place to start!
- Encourage basic skills such as mixing, spreading, peeling, grating, chopping (ensure supervision with sharp objects)
- If the children are younger, using colourful and fun utensils on a low unit can be useful
- Start a notepad recipe book and encourage your young one to write down the foods that they have created
- When possible, involve the children when shopping for the foods – this will give them the ability to see the array of different foods in the supermarket
- Think of the key skills for cooking: boiling, baking, grilling, and roasting
Remember, developing new skills in the kitchen can get pretty messy! So be prepared and maybe you can even teach them how to clean up along the way!
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