How to Teach Your Kids To Cook Real Dinners

Thursday, May 24, 2018

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My oldest son knows how to cook an egg, bake cookies and boil macaroni and cheese, but research shows that the level of cooking skills a teenager has can predict his/her nutritional well-being in the future.

After reading the research, I realized that it is my responsibility to teach my kids how to cook real foods, real dinners with real ingredients. To my surprise, my kids were much more excited than I expected when I proposed them the idea of them cooking dinners for the week!

First, I chose two cookbooks they could choose two recipes each to cook. One is Whole 30 Cookbook and the other is Make Ahead Paleo. There are so many easy and healthy recipes inside, so I knew that whatever they picked, it would be a great choice.

After they chose their two best, we divided the week between them, alternating evenings, so they could cook their dish covering four weekdays.

Next, they read through the ingredient list and wrote down anything needed to be purchased from the grocery store. On Monday, we went to the grocery store and they got the missing ingredients (with some help.)

These are the recipes they picked to cook plus a side dish:

Tuesday: Steak with Caraway-Peppercorn Rub with a side of Green Beans

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine with a side of Rice

Thursday: Cowboy Burgers inside a Bun with sliced tomatoes, cheese and lettuce

Friday: Herb Marinated Skirt Steak with a side of Potatoes

So far they have cooked one dish each and are so excited to cook their next dish! I make sure that during the cooking time I give one on one attention, so only one child is allowed in the kitchen.

It is very tempting to do some steps for them, but I tried my best to step back and just give advise and demonstrate the skills, allowing them to struggle a little to feel they can overcome their difficulties. I am also trying to teach them to clean up as they cook to keep the mess contained.

They were so proud of their dishes during dinner time and made comments about the taste, how much salt to use next time and how the experience went.

I realized that it is actually easier to cook dinner teaching one of them, than trying to cook dinner with two kids freely roaming around the house!

Summer is a great time to start teaching your kids how to cook as they can make some dishes on the grill (with parental supervision), get fresh herbs from outside, and are less stressed out about homework or school.

I think it is also important to teach that cooking is not just about fun sugary dishes, but about every day staples that are healthy and essential for a dinner meal.

What is your experience teaching your kids how to cook? Do you remember cooking with an adult while growing up?

You may also enjoy reading Teach Your Kids How to Do Their Own Laundry and How To Get Kids Excited About Drinking Smoothies

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5 Board Games To Play With Kids That Will Sharpen Your Brain!

Friday, May 4, 2018

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My boys love playing board games, but let's be honest, some games put me right in sleep mode sometimes. So around here, we have found some games we can all agree on playing and at the same time will help keep our minds (mine exactly!) sharp. Because trust me, these kids have caught up with me and are starting to win more times than I want to admit!

So here are Five Games to Play with your kids over Spring evenings or Summer vacation that will help your brain stay sharp!

1. Chess: I did not play this game for decades but my kids love playing it now at least once a week. I had to relearn rules and strategies, just to make sure I don't lose too bad!

2. Bird Bingo: For some reason, this game is perfect to relax while at the same time learn the name of different birds. And if I am going to spend my final elderly days in a nursing home playing bingo, I should just as well start practicing my skills now!

3. Clue: Nothing new here, every person from my generation has probably already played this game! I find that it still takes deep thinking to keep track of all the options and find out who really committed the crime! 

4. Shouts: This is a new game for me. You basically match random pictures with random letters and come up with words that describe something in the picture. After that, each player has to try to figure out what the word is by what is seen in the picture. This game is really hard, and it strengthens creativity, vocabulary, and imagination. Great fun playing together!

5. WildCraft: I don't really remember how I found about this game, but we have all learned so much about medicinal plants and their uses by matching symptoms with wild herbs. You always learn something new playing this game!

What are your favorite board games to play with kids?

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