I was recently involved with teaching some after-school cooking classes with youth in Gitsegukla, a Gitxsan First Nation community approximately 40 km southwest of Hazelton. While I was initially a bit nervous about teaching a classroom full of rambunctious sixth graders, it ended up being one of my most rewarding experiences working as a dietitian! As the kids arrived to the first class, I could tell there were a few skeptics in the group— they thought it would be “too healthy.” Luckily, curiosity and hungry tummies were on my side! After a lesson on food safety and knife skills, the room was buzzing with excitement as the kids chopped, grated, and prepped the food. The cooking classes were a hit!
As a dietitian, I am always encouraging families to make meals together. Why? Well, kids who spend time in the kitchen with their families develop cooking skills that support them in becoming independent, healthy eaters. Cooking is also a great way to expose kids to a variety of different foods and it helps them learn where food comes from. Making a meal to enjoy with others also provides a sense of accomplishment, pride, and builds self-esteem. And those are just some of the many reasons I encourage cooking together!
So the next time you find yourself preparing a meal or snack, why not involve the whole family? To get started, assign each family member with task that suits their abilities.
Things younger kids can do:
- Washing fruits and vegetables
- Peeling with a vegetable peeler
- Measuring and pouring cold liquids
- Kneading, punching, rolling, or cutting out dough
- Stirring, tossing, or whisking
- Sprinkling, spreading, and greasing
Things older kids can do:
- Threading on wooden skewers
- Cutting soft fruits and vegetables
- Cracking eggs
Things more experienced kids can do:
- Roasting or sautéing vegetables
- Baking, broiling, or boiling meats and alternatives
For more tips from an online community dedicated to helping families cook and eat together, visit the Better Together BC website. Be sure to check out the recipe demonstration videos posted by families across B.C.! Here is one of my favourites: Lila’s Apricot Almond Bars.
Is there a recipe that your family enjoys making together? Please share in the comments below!
About Emilia Moulechkova
As a Community Dietitian based in Terrace, Emilia supports 15 different aboriginal communities in the Nass Valley, Kitimaat Village and the Hazeltons. Emilia recently completed her dietetics internship with Northern Health as part of her dietetics training from the University of British Columbia. She is passionate about finding unique, client-centered approaches to supporting families in their current feeding efforts. In her free time, Emilia enjoys cooking, mountain biking and cross country skiing.