Cooking for a family can be a chore. Kids complain about the food. Parents don’t have enough time to put a healthy meal on the table. And mealtime ends up being stressful. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are a few creative ideas for making family cooking fun.
How to Make Family Cooking Fun
Let everyone choose a meal.
Make mealtime planning a family activity. Even kids know what they like to eat. Invite each child to choose a meal for the upcoming week. If they’re old enough, they can also help prepare it.
You may run into a few bumps with younger children who always choose chicken fingers or pizza. If this is the case you have a few options. You can provide them with a list of three to five menu items to choose from. Or you can look through a cookbook together to come up with new ideas. Give them an age-appropriate cookbook that they can choose their recipes from. You may be surprised what they come up with. This strategy is also a great way to motivate children to try new foods.
Encourage older children to look at the local weekly store ads and coupons from the Sunday papers. That way they can help you save money when they’re making their menu choice. Give them a budget and have them do the shopping for their meals, teaching them economics, too!
Make ahead meals.
Make ahead meals are great time savers. You can make them, freeze them, and then warm them up for an easy mealtime.
However, make ahead meals also offer something else. They offer you the opportunity to ask your children to help with the preparation.
If you’re cooking lasagna for example, younger children can mix the cheese sauce while older children brown the meat. All hands on deck for the layering.
This is a great bonding experience. It also helps your children learn how to cook and manage recipes. That’s certainly a skill boys and girls will need when they get older.
Make it themselves.
When children are old enough, ask them to be responsible for a meal. This is a fantastic lesson in responsibility, and you’ll be surprised how much fun your child can actually have when they’re given this responsibility.
Try to be supportive. Not all meals are going to be delicious. Use this as a learning experience.
If you need help teaching your children how to cook, check out this great eCourse from Kids Cook Real Food.
Get everyone involved.
Some meals are just made for group involvement. For example, the “make your own pizza” night. Make the dough ahead of time. Buy the toppings that each family member likes. Then let everyone make their own pizza. This is great for a family game night or weekend meal when you have a lot of time to laugh and cook.
Make breakfast for dinner.
Lighten it up once in a while and make breakfast for dinner. Pancakes, eggs, waffles – you name it, it’s all good. Who says breakfast can only be served in the morning?
We love to eat our easy egg casserole for dinner on a busy weeknight!
There are many ways to get the whole family involved and to make family cooking fun.
Adapt your strategies to the ages of your children. Offer support but let them learn and make mistakes too. Cooking teaches many life skills including planning ahead, improvising, and of course learning from our mistakes.