If your kids are about to leave home, will they be able to feed themselves?
With lifestyles changing at an increasing rate, young people are leaving home with little or no basic cooking skills. We can blame our busy schedules or our changing lifestyles, but kids are getting caught up in the fast food/processed food roundabout and are unable to cook or prepare the simplest of meals.
Reality cooking shows, internet sites and food blogs bombard us with information telling us how we can cook all types of fresh, gourmet creations and with an abundance of cafes and, restaurants of all cuisines to tempt our taste buds, today’s foodie is in culinary heaven.
Okay, I can hear you screaming “We aren’t all Masterchefs” and this is true, but our kids don’t need to be Masterchefs to be able to prepare quick and easy meals on a budget that are filling and nutritious.
As busy, working parents, the luxury of spending time teaching our kids the basics of cooking just doesn’t happen. And let’s face it isn’t at the top of our kids’ priority list either.
As our children get older and start to think about going to university, starting a new job and moving out of home, we need to think about how we can equip them to be able to cook for their family and friends in the future. There are many books and websites dedicated to – “cooking the basics” – however they still seem to assume some level of competence.
When a group of 18-year-old boys were asked about cooking eggs, their responses were mixed.
“If you want to boil an egg, how long do you cook it for?” I asked.
“I don’t know, maybe an hour,” one said.
“Not sure, a few minutes,” another said.
It’s valuable for your kids to have some basic skills in the kitchen – for their health, lifestyle, budget and also cooking can be a social activity enjoyed with friends and family.
Teaching your kids basic cooking skills helps you build a better relationship with them, teaches them to clean up after themselves, learn about nutrition and to do something special for other people in a safe, fun environment where they are not judged and can make mistakes.
Basic cooking skills can be used in recipes; all you need to do is change the ingredients. Also the more you cook, the more confidant you become in the kitchen.
For many kids it’s about learning how to do things the easy way:
- Toasted sandwiches
- Making basic pasta – and giving ideas on what extras to throw in – BBQ chicken, salami
- Making a salad – if time is an issue buying a bag of salad greens and a bottle of dressing is still much better than fast food.
- Wraps are popular and can make many great meals – quesadillas, fresh wraps, fajitas
- How to: cook rice, cook pasta, boil an egg, make salads, cook a steak
- How to use a microwave
- How to cook without the fancy appliances
- Easy recipes
As parents it’s important to support your kids and let them loose in the kitchen, or get them to watch you prepare meals.
5 things you can do to help your kids learn the basics:
- Let them assist with basic tasks whilst you prepare a meal – peeling and cutting vegetables.
- Explaining what you are doing and why.
- Eat out with your kids – eat different cuisines and talk about the foods you are eating.
- As their skills increase plan and prepare a meal together.
- Have fun.
The next step is to support them when they move out by helping to stock their pantry, fridge and freezer, buying them a few basic items like a flat toaster or jaffle maker and a couple of decent saucepans.
So, give your kids the skills to feed themselves before they leave home. The trick then is to make sure they cook dinner for you once a month!