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Getting dinner on the table is a major feat in every busy family. But getting them to eat what is on their plate is another challenge all together!

Did you know that children who are involved in the meal prep are more likely to try the fruits of their labour? So before you ban the kids from the kitchen so you can cook in peace, think about roping them in to help out.

From whisking to weighing, pouring to peeling, stirring to serving, little chefs who regularly roll their sleeves up will reap the benefits. Not only does it create an interest in food and cooking, but it helps them to develop their fine motor skills, eye hand coordination, measuring, counting, reading, and so much more!  It is also a great way for them to feel a real sense of accomplishment.

For me, having my kids in the kitchen cooking with me is second nature, but it’s not always plain sailing. The important rule is that cooking with the kids doesn’t have to mean producing elaborate, time-consuming meals.  The best way to ensure maximum fun (especially in the week), is be keeping the recipes simple, quick and easy-to-follow.

Discover these handy top tips for cooking with kids for winning in the kitchen

No pressure to taste

Top tips for cooking with kids by Annabel Karmel

Getting kids in the kitchen and preparing foods is one of my top tips for helping with picky and fussy eating. But try not to pressure them to taste either the ingredients or the final meal. If they do that is brilliant. But if they don’t, that is ok too.

Time it right

Top tips for cooking with kids by Annabel Karmel

Don’t wait until the kids are hungry or too tired before bringing them into the kitchen.  Young attention spans are short as it is and attempting to cook with a cranky toddler will certainly try your patience!

Ingredients check

Top tips for cooking with kids by Annabel Karmel

Make sure you have all the ingredient you need you need before you whistle for your sous chefs! Freestyling isn’t to easy when you have keen kids at your feet.

Fun first

Top tips for cooking with kids by Annabel Karmel

You might have a few resignations of you try and control your little chefs too much.

Getting them engrossed and interacting with food is far more important that the end result.  Put pay to ‘perfection’ and instead focus on the fun – and that means embracing a little mess too!

Kitchen playdate

Top tips for cooking with kids by Annabel Karmel

The kitchen is the perfect spot for an after-school social!  Let’s face it, entertaining our own children is hard enough work, so why not get them putting that post-school energy to good use and helping you out – it’s also an ideal environment to get the kids talking and sharing about their day. Bonus!

An everyday activity

Top tips for cooking with kids by Annabel Karmel

Baking is a great introduction to the culinary world (and let’s face it, we all have memories of licking the spoon when making cake!). But a healthy love all foods comes from involving them in everyday meal prep too. From making the morning toast and rolling the lunchtime wraps, to having a hand in making dinner, helping to preparing tasty, good food should be part of daily life.

Inner Picasso!

Top tips for cooking with kids by Annabel Karmel

Dabbling in cooking and food prep is the ideal opportunity to feed young imaginations and unleash that inner Picasso!  Kids eat with their eyes, so try out recipes that encourage them to assemble their own creations. With Halloween creeping up on us, they will love my Spooky Spider Fishcakes with Scary Sweet Potato Faces. Or dive into my Deep Sea Flipper Dinner – a great way to fuel fun, play and learning.

Discover more great recipes to cook with the kids here.

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