Kids in the kitchen: Part two

How to cook food safely and teach your children at the same time.

Food is something we all need in life. It is important to learn various things about food - where it comes from, how we prepare and cook it, what is safe and how to keep it for later use. These are all topics that can be taught throughout life, from generation to generation. This is the second part of an article that will address kids in the kitchen. We will discuss preparing food safely in the kitchen. Kids can learn to prepare and cook food safely if we demonstrate and provide proper training for them.

Michigan State University Extension recommends maintaining a clean kitchen environment. It’s a good way to start work in the kitchen. By maintaining a clean facility, much of the time spent in the kitchen can provide time to enjoy the process of cooking. There are some basic things that everyone should follow and be aware of while working together.

The rules for preparing food in the kitchen are the same for children as well as adults. Some basic things to consider are;

  • wearing an apron
  • washing hands before during and after handling food
  • keep long hair back
  • wash rinse and sanitize all utensils

A complete list of food safe rules while preparing food is located on the Healthy kids.gov website.

When working in a kitchen with a child, use recipes that are easy to prepare. This makes the learning curve more enjoyable as they are able to assist and accomplish the project. Involving children in the process will teach youth skills and confidence as well as food safe knowledge.

Things kids can do while helping are:

  • measuring -  teaches them math skills and the importance of the science behind cooking
  • washing - all vegetables and fruits
  • setting the table
  • develop communication skills - while preparing the food and eating together

All of these skills can be applied throughout children’s lives. Once again, children learn by doing and through modeling what we do as adult guides. So guide children in safe food preparation and they will have skills for a healthy life.  

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