The saying goes “Children are great imitators so give them something great to imitate”.
For as long as I can remember I have always cooked with the kids. From the time Miss M was old enough to sit upright on her own she would be in her bumbo sitting with me as I cooked up a storm. So it’s no surprise that the kids are now avid chefs.
We are really mindful of what we eat and live by the saying that ‘Thy food is thy medicine’. I wasn’t always like this though. Pre kids my eating habits were terrible. But after the journey with my son, his food intolerance’s and the steep learning curve I undertook, I am much more thoughtful and creative with my meals.
Some of you might not know our kids go to a Steiner school. With that style of education and lifestyle comes some guidelines around lunches. For example – no pre -packaged food, no cling wrap or aluminum foil etc. This results in a whole lot of homemade lunches being created right here in our kitchen.
We are always trying new recipes. The kids and I recently decided to try something different. Apple, Almond & Coconut bars for a school lunch treat using a pretty cool premix I recently came across. Usually I make things from scratch but Baby Bar (which is actually meant for babies) is Gluten free, Dairy free and has no added sugar. They also have 4 different flavours to choose from.
After our recent cooking experience which was super fun, super easy and super successful, I thought I would share with you 8 tips I find work well when I cook with the kids:
- Prepare – Read the recipe, depending on the age pull out all the ingredients so they are in one spot ready to go and preheat the oven, etc. It’s always good to have yourself sorted before you ask them to join in.
- Timing – Make sure you have enough time. If a recipe says 30 mins. Give yourself an hour or so… there is no point rushing it and then getting stressed. That’s no fun for anyone involved.
- Expectations – If you have any expectations when it comes to cooking with kids, let it be that there will be mess… and you know what, it’s ok. It can all be cleaned up at the end.
- Demonstrate but not Do – The only way kids are going to get good at something is to let them practice, so teach them how to do something and then let them have a go instead of doing everything for them.
- Teach – cooking can be more than just a lesson in cooking. You can incorporate agriculture (about farming – how are the raw ingredients grown or where do they come from), maths (weighing ingredients, counting our measurements), science (how things cook or what happens when you heat something), language (reading the recipe), geography (where the ingredients are grown or originate from)
- Hygiene – It’s great from a young age to teach kids about hand hygiene. Not just about washing before you start cooking but also throughout (handling raw meat or tasting and eating ingredients throughout cooking)
- Tasting food – There is no stopping a child’s urge to nibble on the ingredients when cooking, so be prepared just ask them to use a clean spoon to taste and let them know not to use fingers or lick stirring spoons until the end.
And most importantly…
- Have fun! – Food always tastes so much better when there is a dash of fun and a dollop of love.
The bars were delicious and super easy to make. All I needed to add was 2 apples & 3 eggs to the pre-mix. The kids had a ball making them and were quiet capable of making the bars with little assistance. The one thing I really liked about the Baby Bar premix was the convenience and time-saving it offers. We always have apples and eggs at home so this would be a great thing to have in the pantry. Perfect for those rainy days or, when I need something for the lunch box but short on time or effort.
Tip: If you do make them make sure you have a spare apple to cut up for the kids to nibble on! Otherwise you will end up with just Almond & coconut bars…
“Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity.” – Guy Fieri