It is so important to teach kids to cook and make good food choices. More and more children in Australia are suffering from obesity and diabetes because our culture has moved away from wholesome, fresh foods to refined, sugary, additive-filled junk.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to teach them to cook. Here are some fun ways to get started:

Let them cook with you

Kids can start helping in the kitchen from an early age, and although it can get messy, it’s worth the effort. Little ones can scrub potatoes, wash, spin-dry and shred lettuce, chop mushrooms with a butter knife, whisk eggs with a fork, mash avocado or banana, wash plastic dishes… and to them it’s fun, not work!

Let them experiment

Our kids love inventing new and interesting snacks – fruit salads, crackers with interesting toppings, juices, bikkies, cakes… I don’t mind them experimenting, because that’s how they learn what works and what doesn’t (As long as they eat it, of course).

Make pizzas together

Make the dough, roll it out and put it on trays, then let the kids put on the toppings. They can each do a small one of their own and make it just how they like it. Our kids like to make faces with the toppings just for fun.

Fun Bread rolls

Make the dough and let the kids have a piece each to make into faces, turtles, snakes, cats… whatever they like. Brush with water and decorate with seeds or raisins before baking.

Kids love to make pasta

Make the dough and let kids take turns putting it through the pasta machine. Kids love this – it’s so much fun. (As long as you don’t mind a bit of mess!) Many kids have never made pasta before, and are fascinated that they can make their own yummy spaghetti.

Eggs for all ages

Older kids can learn to cook eggs – scrambled, fried, boiled, etc. All ages will enjoy making egg sandwich fillings by mixing their choice of ingredients with mashed, boiled eggs – chopped celery, onion, pickles, tuna, mayonnaise, mustard, parsley… whatever takes their fancy… they love to make their own lunch this way.

Yummy fruit salad

Give them some washed fruit, some nuts/seeds, a chopping board and small knife, and see what they come up with.

These are just a few ideas for family cooking fun – I’m sure you can think of plenty more! The idea is not to be scared off by the mess – just think of the wonderful memories you’ll be making together, and the good eating habits you’ll be teaching them for the future.