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Summer Cooking Camps

Summer Cooking Camps

Food fun with a healthy bonus


Are you looking for ways to give your kids some educational fun this summer? Consider signing them up for a cooking class! Not only are cooking classes great for teaching kids about food, but they also inspire creativity, teach exciting new skills, and research also suggests they encourage young people to try more new foods too.


One study published in Appetite, found that when kids help make their own meals or snacks, they tend to eat more of it, even if it's healthy stuff like salad. This is important because it means that when adults involve kids in cooking and choose to make dishes that include healthy ingredients such as fruits and vegetables – children are more likely to consume them. Even if they don't like certain foods (like broccoli or pineapple), they might still eat more of them if they helped prepare them.


So why does this work? 


First of all, cooking and eating are social events where children are highly influenced by what they observe. For example, they may learn what types of foods are appropriate to eat from their family or peers. By cooking with others, children can have a more positive social experience around food, which can have an impact on their choices and intake. Additionally, preparing meals with others can be a rewarding experience, which can also positively effect intake of prepared foods. 


Secondly, cooking can increase children's exposure to different ingredients. It's not uncommon for children to require several exposures to a particular item before they start to like it, but interacting with or selecting ingredients can count as an additional exposure! By engaging in the cooking process, children can become more familiar with different foods and develop a greater appreciation for them.  This familiarity can lead to a more diverse and healthy diet.


Lastly, cooking with kids can provide opportunities to make swaps and customize meals with fare they already know and love. By allowing children to select ingredients themselves, they may feel a greater sense of ownership over the things they eat. This empowerment can make children more invested in their food choices and more likely to choose healthier options.


It's important to note that children may be motivated by different aspects of preparation. Some may be attracted to the social aspect of cooking, while others may prefer the opportunity to creatively assemble and customize their meals. Regardless of their particular interest, cooking with kids is a valuable way to instill healthy habits.

Want some ideas for cooking with kids at home?  Try these recipes:  Veggie Pinwheels, Dole Kids with Almond Toast or Black Widow Chocolate Bites!


Published July 1, 2023

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