Cooking with Kids - Pizza Night
Cooking with Kids - Pizza Night This is our first blog on cooking with kids. Giving kids chores from the onset is great for their confidence, and gives them skills for life. And whether there's tears, tantrums or giggles, just being together after a busy week is the best way to reconnect! So if your stuck for Friday night dinner ideas, here' some inspo! It can get messy so have your wipes and wet cloths near by and wear old clothes. Once that's done cooking with kids is awesome.
Start simple. With naturally short attention spans start off giving them one job. On pizza night - its decorating! My husband, hands-down, makes the best pizzas. (I'm not saying this because he's my husband - they are EPIC) He makes the dough at least 24 hours before and his sauce - oh my goodness, it changed my life. Here are a few tips on getting the kids involved...
1. You can prep your topping ingredients the night before in ziplock bags if you don't have time (another time teach them how to prep). Rocket, mozzarella, salame, basil, homemade sauce. We lay it out in little bamboo boats to prevent breaking dishes and they look fun.
2. Give your kids the creative freedom over your pizza and their own. Our preschooler made herself and her baby sister a Margherita. She explains: "This is how Italian's eat pizza," even to staff at our playgroup when served bake-bean pizzas. For us she made a beautiful bresaola, tomato and mozzarella pizza. "Adults eat everything," she says while trying some rocket (woohoo). The kids can prep one pizza while the other one cooks. We get the kids to pick herbs from the garden if they get bored while the pizza is cooking.
3. Let all the kids get involved no matter how old or young they are! Let the baby touch the foods, don't be afraid to let them try shredded cheese, tomatoes (we did baby-led weaning so she is familiar with solids from the get-go)! Just make sure everyone's hands are clean and no-one has colds. With the older kids, make dinner prep-time screen free time. It may be hard at first but you will all reap the rewards later on - trust me. Before you start cooking look up interesting facts on ingredients - like rocket is weed. For the baby, its the colour green - use it as an opportunity to teach about colours. Smell, taste it. Get all their senses working.
BEST TIP! You can BBQ pizza so you can do all prepping, cooking and eating outside. Woohoo, no mess inside and fresh-air for all.
The RESULT "Mamma, look what I made you," my eldest beamed. Confidence, is so important. Look at these little pieces-of-art! Pizza made by our girls. She also tried rocket without me asking her, even though she complains about eating it at dinner. Hand-on-my-heart, best pizza's I've ever eaten. Why getting kids into the kitchen is so important?!? Now we've done the fun part here is why we cook with our kids. Growing up I was not involved in dinners and had to teach myself a lot when I was adult. My husband however watched and learnt from his parents. I want my kids to have cooking in their blood, to find it relaxing, to know its really important even if they say they don't want to cook when they get older - most importantly I want them to eat food in a healthy, yet pleasurable way. Not only this, growing studies supports we need to get all the family in the kitchen and at the table.
FACTS Research shows cooking with kids helps your kids choose healthier foods and grow into healthier adults.
ABS stats reveal about one quarter of Australian children ( 600,000 children aged 5-17 years) are overweight or obese.
This leaves kids open to health concerns like high blood pressure and high cholesterol - all risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
When genetics are not involved the reasons are behavioural like to much screen time, less active time at schools and home, and also junk food.
Its also reported with have the fastest growing obesity rates in the developing world.
This is one way we get our kids away from the screens, learning about healthy food (they may not eat say eat a piece of rocket straight away but are getting to know, especially when they handpick it). I find they eat-up ingredients while prepping - they would usually fuss over on their dinner plate, as they say fussy-eating is most of the time behavioural and also a fear of new foods! Either way this is how family's used to work - all the kids would have to chip-in. Let's bring it back starting with easy, simple ways. The protesting will lessen - and you will see your child's culinary world bloom.