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6 Steps to Expand your Child's Education in the Kitchen

Published Jan 4, 2016 | Updated Feb 19, 2020

There are two key factors involved in being healthy: being active and eating well. By including your children in food choices and teaching them about good nutrition, you empower them to make healthy food choices. These are lifelong skills worthy of the investment now.

If you want to teach your kids healthy eating habits that will stick with them for life, it’s simple…teach them to cook. Research shows that if kids are involved in the whole process - from picking out the groceries, helping chop and make the meals, they are much more likely to have an appreciation for healthy food and carry these eating habits into adulthood.

Here are six simple steps to start your child's edible education:

1.      Take your kids grocery shopping. Pick a recipe and have fun shopping for the ingredients together.

2.      Cook together. Choose one night a week when your children can help with the meal prep. Start simple – let little ones peel carrots or potatoes, measure the ingredients or do the mixing. Older ones can be responsible for helping chop vegetables and reading the recipe directions.

3.      Make eating an adventure. Introduce your kids to new styles of food or a new recipe. Set the table with candles, eat on the floor picnic-style, or make faces and shapes out of their food such as using meatballs for eyes and pasta for hair. A little effort goes a long way to make meal-time fun and enjoyable.

4.      Enjoy dinner together. Research also shows that not only is what you eat important but also how you eat it. Kids who sit down with their family for meal-times are healthier – not to mention you get to spend some quality time together.

5.      Take a cooking class together. There are a number of cooking classes out there for your aspiring young chef and taking a class together is not only a good way to learn how to make healthy meals together, it’s also a delicious and nutritious way to spend time with your kids. There are parent/child culinary classes offered at the Calgary Farmers Market and many other locations in Calgary and area. Visit poppyinnovations.ca for more details.

6.      Grow your own food. Plant fruits and vegetables in your backyard, or if you don’t have space use planters or participate in a community garden. Children can take pride in watching their plants grow and have fun trying some new foods fresh from the garden.


Article by Sharon McCormick, founder of Poppy Innovations. Empowering individuals and families to be actively involved in producing their own healthy food through gardening and cooking, will pave the way for making healthy food choices.

Sharon McCormick
By Sharon McCormick
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Comments (5)

January 10, 2016, 4:39 a.m. Flag

Absolutely! All 3 of ours have helped out in the kitchen, and can cook or bake to varying degrees. And since our 11 yr old is the last one home, her and her dad make up special seasonings that she helps mix up and he tells her how much of each to use and whatnot. She loves helping out in the kitchen! And she came home on Fri, all excited because the new club she got into this semester is cooking. She can't wait to be able to cook meals her father and I. And her and her half-sister years ago, made us breakfast (koolaid packs dumped in a glass of water with sugar with pieces of oranges they peeled, ground coffee mistaken for instant, toast and cereal...) They were so proud of themselves.....and yes, we did sip at the drinks enough.....good parents that we are. :)


January 11, 2016, 11:51 a.m. Flag

I love cooking with my kids. We make it into a fun experience with music and dancing. We all love doing it and we don't mind if it's not the most presentable looking food. Sometimes we get a laugh on how it looks but it still taste great! :)


January 14, 2016, 7:33 a.m. Flag

We always cook together in the weekend. I believe that this is how my kids can learn something and also spend time in really exciting way. We try to bake some cooks or donuts, also we make sandwiches, soups and crumbles. :)) This weekend we will try to bake a cake for the first time - my girl has been talking about it all week. :))))


January 14, 2016, 2:36 p.m. Flag

Cooking with my mom and grandma is what gave me the love of healthy food (and baking!) that I carry with me as an adult. So important to start young, with interactive food!


January 20, 2016, 12:52 p.m. Flag

I love cooking and think I manage to create some great, yummy and tasty treats for my kids, but I feel so lost at how to encourage my children to cook and where I should start. This article is so encouraging. For a start, my kids DO love shopping so that would be a good place for me to start. I think this week I will let them pick a simple recipe and we'll go shopping together. I am lucky that my kids are not fussy, they love all types of food and we always eat dinner as a family. It's our time to connect as a unit and talk about life.


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