Chop, Chop! Get your kids in the kitchen

Getting your kids in the kitchen at an early age can teach them an important skill that will help them throughout their life. Here are some tips to get your kids involved in cooking.

-Don't worry about the mess. Put your kids in a cooking apron or clothes that you don't mind getting messy. Don't stress about the mess on the floor or counters. You can clean it up later. Now is time for cooking fun!

-Start with simple recipes like a baked good or a smoothie. Even relatively young children can help with tasks such as cracking eggs in a bowl, gathering ingredients, mixing ingredients in a bowl, and measuring ingredients can be great ways to get your kids involved in the cooking process. Avoid having them work with raw meat or hot pots on the stove.

-Keep them safe. Avoid burns by keeping kids away from the stove when cooking. Remind them to not put their hands near their face or in their mouth while cooking. Keep kids away from knives and other sharp objects like vegetable peelers and food processor blades. Mixing spoons, handheld whisks, and potato mashers are safe for even very young ones.

-Get them excited about the process of cooking. Have your kids pick out a recipe that looks fun to them. Take pictures of your kids while they are cooking. Let them taste some of the individual ingredients in their basic form (e.g. cocoa powder, raw vegetables). Turn on the oven light so can peek in on the work in progress.

-Have your kids present the final product to friends or family members. Let them take pride in the food that they have created and showcase their work to others. 

Here's my favorite recipe, Cocoa Banana Bread, to get your children involved in cooking.