What should people know about your cooking

Cooking with children and young people: fun has priority!

When cooking with children and teenagers, the following applies: fun has priority! Here lies a great opportunity for the development of a common eating culture and nutritional education in the family. Because children and young people are often very interested and have a lot of fun helping out in the kitchen.

Ready on the table

Cooking is an important part of everyday life that sometimes takes up more and sometimes less time. That is why in many families children and young people are often not included in the preparations, they get the meal served ready at the table. Here lies a great opportunity for the development of the common eating culture and nutritional education in the family. Because children and young people are often very interested and have a lot of fun helping out in the kitchen. Planning meals and cooking your own is a great experience for everyone. Participating from an early age brings them closer to conscious handling of food and nutrition in a playful way. Take this chance!

Family meals bring people together - everyone at one table!

Own preferences and peculiarities - all of this together makes up a family's own "eating culture", which strengthens a feeling of belonging and solidarity. Often, however, eating together is a rarity in everyday life. The time window between daycare, school, work and leisure is very small. It is a challenge to get everyone to the table at the same time and to eat together in peace. Take the chance that family dinner (cooked together)

  • gives a solid structure to everyday life, is fun and tastes good and
  • a nicely set table contributes to the good atmosphere.
  • Cooking and eating together are a nice meeting place for the family.

To take responsibility

It is helpful if all family members participate - especially if the children (age-appropriate) and young people help plan the meal in advance.
If planning meals together is a challenge, it can help to keep track of them as family time goes on. Purchasing, preparation and tidying up can be shared by individual family members. Everyone who participates feels responsible.

Children learn to cook

Cooking with children and adolescents of different ages requires a high degree of patience and perseverance on the part of the parents. But it's worth it! Because if you cook regularly with your children and teenagers, by watching and helping you learn to do some things independently, step by step - true to the motto:
No more eating on the couch or in front of the TV! Today everyone is in the kitchen! Good preparation and a few tips will help make it fun for everyone!

Good preparation!

  • Together with your family, create a meal plan for the next few days or even for the whole of the coming week. For this purpose, the young people can use the computer to create a template for a menu that can be used again and again for the next menu.
  • Have all family members suggest what food they would like to eat. Use this to create a menu. When planning, consider how much time you have to cook on each day.
  • Make a grocery list for the food. Many foods can be stored for some time so you only have to go shopping once. Further information on meal planning and shopping can be found here.
  • Include existing food from the supply in your planning so that it does not spoil and be thrown away. A leftover meal can also be very tasty. If you need tips on the correct storage of fruit and vegetables, then take a look at the ABC of Storage. General tips for storing food can be found here.

Cooking rules

In order to be able to cook well together, a few rules for the kitchen are important.

  • Before starting to cook, everyone must wash their hands properly with soap. Wounds are covered with a plaster and, if necessary, a rubber glove. In general, care must be taken to work hygienically so that the food can be consumed by everyone with an appetite. Particularly when processing raw meat and eggs, more attention should be paid to hand washing. Always use cutting boards for either meat or vegetables. In between work steps, clean them properly with washing-up liquid before cutting food on them that will then be consumed raw.
  • Before the start, the tasks are determined by everyone. This prevents siblings from arguing about who is doing what while cooking. If you have to look at two children, it is advisable to work alternately on a recipe. Otherwise it will be very exhausting for the adult to steer the action in the right direction.
  • Make it clear to the children that the pan on the stove or the empty stove top that the saucepan was just on can be hot. Therefore, the stove should never be used as a shelf or storage space. If there is not enough work surface, include the dining table as a work surface.
  • Avoid the risk of accidents. Everyone makes sure that there is no risk of slipping, e.g. B. by fallen bowls or pieces of vegetables / fruit. The handles of the pots and pans are also rotated so that nobody can get caught on them and tear them off the cupboard or stove.
  • Correct cutting: A board is always placed underneath for cutting, which should be as non-slip as possible. If this is not the case, place a damp cloth underneath. Halve round vegetables once and place the flat side on a board so that they cannot roll or wobble. The best way to cut it is to use the "claw grip": To do this, place your fingertips slightly spread apart on the vegetables and hold them with your thumb and little finger. Place the knife in front of your knuckles and cut the vegetables. Always "hide" the thumb behind the other fingers so that it does not get a cut.

Let the children and young people help out!

Children are more likely to try and eat a new dish if they are involved in the preparation. Explain to your child what you are doing and which vegetables you are preparing. Let the vegetables or fruit try it while they are being prepared.

  • There are always tasks that children and young people can easily help with: involve your children in the preparation of the dishes. Even small children can help very well if, for example, B. washing potatoes, carrots or kohlrabi or stirring a quark dish.
  • Small children can cut soft fruits very well. Use a normal table knife for this. This makes it easy to cut apples, pears and bananas.
  • Slightly older children can be involved in peeling the vegetables. A peeler is best for this. If the children can handle a knife safely, then cutting vegetables is also a nice task for them. Show your child how to hold the vegetables firmly and how to use the knife safely to cut them.
  • Young people can already cook light dishes or individual components on their own. You are already capable of handling the oven or the stove top. They are happy to accept tips and tricks. Write down the recipe of your favorite dish for your teenager. Make sure that you also specify the temperatures for the oven or the heat settings for the hob. Keep yourself ready in the background for any queries or, if necessary, to prevent errors that lead to the failure of the recipe.
  • Ultimately, the nicely laid table is also part of the meal. Even small children can do this with a little support from adults. Young people sometimes enjoy designing and implementing appropriate table decorations or folding napkins.

Practice creates masters!

You need time to introduce your child or young person to cooking. Plan the preparation in your daily routine with sufficient time. Because when there is time pressure, mishaps often happen that discourage the youngsters and make them lose the desire to cook together.

If something goes wrong and the recipe does not work out as it should, discuss it with your child or teenager. Maybe you will find out the mistake together and the next time the result will be better. You can find ideas for simple and tasty recipes here.

This content was created by the joint editorial team in cooperation with the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center for the network of consumer centers in Germany.