Involving your kids in the preparation of a meal can have really positive results.
"It really doesn’t matter how old your kids are there’s always the chance to get the whole family involved in the kitchen, explains Tom Rutledge, Founder of HelloFresh and father of three. "Cooking really satisfies kids innate creativity and I really relish seeing the pride and achievement they feel in the finished product. It also sets a tremendous example: If kids grow up in a household where delicious meals are cooked from fresh ingredients they are much more likely to follow suit in later life”.
To get you started, Tom has listed seven safe and child-friendly kitchen hacks to get your kids cooking in the kitchen. Many hands really do make light work!
1. Remove pepper cores
Cut the peppers in half with a sharp knife before the kids take over. Make things fun by timing them and seeing how quickly they can decore and deseed the peppers.
2. Chop herbs with scissors
Not only is this a great thing for kids to help you with, but it is also a brilliant kitchen hack that will save you time even when the kids aren’t helping! Put the herbs (basil, coriander, mint, parsley etc.) into a mug. With a pair of safety scissors chop the herbs until fine. Using a mug or a glass means the leaves are compressed into a small space, so is much easier to cut them up.
3. Squeeze fruit
Tell them to roll lemons and limes on their sides before you help cut them in half - this makes them much easier to juice! Make sure they take care when adding the juice to other ingredients to prevent pips from falling in.
4. Mix the ingredients
Encourage your kids to help by asking them to mix dry ingredients in a bowl with their (washed!) hands or with a wooden spoon. Teach older kids about different mixing techniques (folding, whisking and beating with a whisk) and show them the best way to incorporate all the ingredients together.
5. Wash your veggies
Even the youngest children can help with the dinner prep by washing the veggies! They can also start tearing lettuce for the salad, scrubbing potatoes to clean them, and cutting soft foods (like olives and strawberries) with a butter or table knife.
6. Picking leaves off herbs
Start small and gradually progress – this is a great thing for the youngest of your clan to start with. A fun task for the kids to help with and a fiddly one you can avoid!
7. Chop veggies (with the help from a grown-up)
Older kids can help chopping veggies, with the help of steady grown-up hands! Be sure to show them how to hold the ingredients steady and safely before they chop with a knife.
BY TOM RUTLEDGE, FOUNDER & CEO OF HELLOFRESH ANZ
Founder and CEO of HelloFresh Australia, Tom Rutledge is a self-taught cooking enthusiast and 2011 MasterChef Australia contestant.
Following his invaluable experience on MasterChef, Tom put these skills into practice and founded Mr. Perkins & Co., a boutique gourmet home food delivery service. The business was the first proponent of the meal kit concept in Australia and ultimately lead to Tom being approached by HelloFresh to launch the company into Australia in 2012.