Table Talk title
girl on counter mixing batter for baking
What are some fun ways to get kids involved in the kitchen?

iving kids free reign with their own creativity in the kitchen is like fire to gasoline in the best of ways! Letting them create recipes and meals for themselves and other family members flames the spark for healthy cooking that will only burn brighter as they journey into adulthood.

If you want to instill a love for cooking in your children… a love for working with foods from the earth so they’ll be forever fascinated with God-given foods—whatever you do… don’t over supervise! Of course, they’ll need age-appropriate management to avert dangers. Providing easy recipes is a great jumping off point, too. But whatever children can do on their own is far better done on their own!

Rather than a “Let’s help Mommy in the kitchen” approach… how about a “Your turn to make muffins” approach? Depending upon the ages and number of children you have, each one can have a day when it is their turn to make muffins. Little ones can team up with older ones or you. But if you have a seven or eight-year-old ready to take on the whole task by themselves, let them have at it! They’ll ask for help when it’s needed. Otherwise, creating and owning a recipe, experiencing real-life learning, and making wonderful achievements (or grand mistakes) on their own will create channels in their brain that too much supervision never could!

Whichever it turns out to be… “epic success” or “it’ll be better next time”… doesn’t matter. Chalk the highs and lows up to part of the art of learning to work with foods. Be prepared to go through some ingredients. Be prepared for a bit or a lot of mess. All these temporary inconveniences are so worth the lifetime of love for kitchen creations that can burn inside your child, if you set the right environment.

“Creating and owning a recipe, experiencing real-life learning, and making wonderful achievements (or grand mistakes) on their own will create channels in their brain that too much supervision never could!”
And even when failures happen—and they will—we can always point out the good in any of our kid’s creations. Labeling one child as a “great cook” and another as “not cut out for it” can instill negative identities that often stick for life. While kitchen creations may come more easily to some than others, every child or teen can learn basic kitchen skills and eventually, after enough tries, have wild successes! But let’s say the sweetener was forgotten or the salt was heavy-handed, as parents and recipe tasters, we can point to the wonderful texture or something else positive and exclaim over how much budding talent is happening in your home!

This encouragement to get your children in the kitchen is not just some subject to cover that we can then tick off on their grading papers! It is a skill that can totally change the scope, health, success, and future of their lives. A 2014 John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study found that people who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier, consume less sugar and devitalized carbohydrates even if they are not trying to lose weight. Studies have also shown that people who regularly make home-cooked meals are more likely to make healthier choices on occasions when they do eat out. In other words, eating healthy food at home can become a life habit.

Idea for Preschoolers and Young Children: Young children love to stir! Stirring also inspires curiosity for steps that come after stirring. Anytime you’re in the kitchen and have to combine ingredients in a bowl, perhaps say, “I need my expert stirrer for this.” Then hand your child the bowl. Want a mantra for getting your kids excited about kitchen creations? Here it is… “STIRRING LEADS TO MORE!”

Idea for Older Children and Teens: A great way to get the creative kitchen juices going for older children and teens is to let them set your home up as a restaurant for an evening. Have them write up a menu, cook the meal, dress up as waiters, and serve it to you! You provide the ingredients and just let the magic, fun, and chaos happen.

If that feels like jumping too far off the deep end and your children need more kitchen confidence before turning your home into their own restaurant, consider utilizing the Trim Healthy You curriculum. It is available at the Beginner and Intermediate levels and both levels include opportunities to try different foods with exclusive recipe cards designed just for their level of cooking skills. Also included are hands-on activities, posters, and various trackers to bring their lessons to life. The Trim Healthy You curriculum can be an invaluable resource for your family that can be used for years to come!

-Serene & Pearl
Serene Allison & Pearl Barrett

erene Allison & Pearl Barrett are sisters and busy mothers who were determined to ditch restrictive diet fads and embrace food freedom!

The Trim Healthy Mama Story. The THM story started with two sisters who wrote a book about food freedom for women and called it Trim Healthy Mama. It was a self-published book with no expectations, no advertising budget, and no celebrity endorsements. It became a movement as word caught on and friends shared their success “ON PLAN” with others. Trim Healthy Mama became a best-seller, inspired a viral community, and developed a food line. Now, millions have reclaimed their health and become “THM lifers.”