Cooking is one of the most enjoyable things in the world and no matter how skillful you are, the fact is that a home-made dinner is much better, healthier, cheaper and more nutritious than anything you can order from a restaurant. That’s why you should also encourage your kids to spend more time with you in the kitchen—they probably all love cooking, but they just don’t know it yet, so it’s your job to show then why cooking is fun. Here are five simple and effective ways to do so.

Show them the good stuff

Yes, eating their favorite meat, veggies or spaghetti can be quite exciting for a child, but what about something more extravagant and unusual? Just a few unordinary dishes can help you show your kids how versatile and interesting cooking can really be and you can get them hooked on cooking in no time. You can try something Asian, such as a simple kid-friendly Chinese dish that will blow their minds and introduce them to vegetables and sauces they didn’t even know existed.

Highlight the benefits

Talking to kids about nutrients, calories and healthy ingredients doesn’t make much sense, does it? It’s not that they don’t understand these notions, but they don’t value healthy food as much as they love tasty food, and that’s the angle you need to approach. Give them something that’s nutritious and delicious at the same time, and they’ll want to learn more about the benefits of proper dieting. This way, you’re building an important base for the future as all kinds who fall in love with cooking at an early age and understand how crucial nutritive meals are will continue to prepare healthy dishes once they grow up as well.

Play make-believe

Kids love experimenting in the kitchen and that’s quite all right because that’s the only way to make them understand how cooking really works. However, if these experiments result in broken kitchenware and utensils, there’s no fun in that, for you or for your children. Therefore, give them something of high quality, such as strong and durable Anolon cookware that will last you longer than you can imagine. Since your kids’ motor skills aren’t fully developed, it better to give them something sturdier to cook with, and this definitely beats cooking with plastic pots and pans—after all, they want to be real chefs and you need to give them proper accessories if you want to make cooking appealing to them.

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Encourage them to taste everything

Whatever you’re cooking, your kids need to be able to try it and see whether they like it or not. The same goes for their own cooking too—give them a chance to try every single ingredient, as well as the spices, and see what they taste like. This will allow them to learn a thing or two about food, but also fall in love with peculiar tastes of various things they’ll later use in the kitchen.

Let them do the job

Letting your kids take the lead while cooking is the only way to get them interested in healthy food, so don’t be afraid to let them do all the work. Of course, you should still help them by peeling the veggies and cutting the meat as these dangerous activities can result in injuries, but they can do everything else on their own, from seasoning the meat to serving the meal when it’s done. Start small, by preparing simple things like snacks all kids like–even famous chefs such as Jamie Oliver appreciate the value of proper after-school snacks—and then move onto something more complex.

If you do your job right, your children will be independent in the kitchen after a while and they’ll never stop cooking. This is also a great way to strengthen the bond with them, so get active and start cooking as soon as possible!

Featured Photo Courtesy: Tim Pierce/Flickr