Safe cooking tips are essential for everyone whose working with children in the kitchen. Sometimes they get a little excited and don’t pay attention so having down some basics is the best for everyone involved. We’ve put together some Safe Cooking Tips to ensure our children grow up with healthy, smart cooking habits.
If you didn’t catch it, I recently wrote a post about making chores fun that you may find helpful. We’re all about teaching around here!
It’s common knowledge that children are more likely to eat healthy foods if they are exposed to them from an early age and it’s becoming more known that allowing them to help in the kitchen will encourage them to eat things they may not necessarily have wanted to try before. Our oldest grandson hated vegetables when and absolutely refused to eat them but after some gentle coercion, seeing his Nonna eat them and his helping in the kitchen a bit we were able to persuade him.
Getting children in the kitchen when they are young will help them learn to cook healthier meals for themselves when they are older. We’re beginning habits that will last a life time so get them in the kitchen and begin teaching them soon.
The basics are essential (and mostly common sense) in safe cooking tips. We pretty much know them and begin teaching them the basics from when they are little, like that stoves are hot and such but there are many we don’t think about until they are necessary.
Clean Hands & Area
We teach them about germs all the time i.e., ‘don’t touch that, it’s dirty’. The first thing to start with when teaching the kids to cook is hand washing and clean cooking area.
Most children know knives are sharp and to be careful by the time they are old enough for us to let them begin cutting things in the kitchen. When they are big enough, it’s a good thing to start them with less dangerous tasks such as zesting so that they begin to respect the sharpness. Microplane has a fantastic little Glove and Zester Set that will protect their hands while they help, the glove protects their hand from scrapes with the zester.
When they graduate to chopping, teach them to hold the blade stead with their thumb and forefinger on either side of the blade then cut holding the item down with their knuckles out so that the knife is always far away from their fingertips. Professional chefs do this so that they can cut quickly without the danger. You can see an info-graphic about it here.
Using the Stove
Obviously we’ve taught them hot and cold, perhaps spent years teaching them not to touch the stove because it’s hot. Now we get to teach them a little more in depth things.
- When wearing long sleeves, roll them up before beginning!
- If using a step stool, make sure it is both sturdy and stable so that they won’t slide while the kids are cooking.
- Have all of the ingredients out and ready so that when they begin cooking, it will be easy to assemble. This will help discourage and teach about cross contamination. It also begins a great foundation for years to come.
- Teach them not to let the handles stick out from the stove top, otherwise they may easily bump something and spill hot food all over themselves or even cause a fire.
- Potholders, t-towels and other flammable things are not to be placed near the stove. This will help them get in the habit of not tossing things on top of the stove and may prevent fires. (Side note: hilarious story about Home Ec and that, but writing it makes it lose some of it’s hilarity so I’ll spare you.)
- Teach them, and stress it often, that if there ever a small kitchen fire that they should throw baking powder on it! Never flour or water!
- When done cooking, turn the burners/oven off. Seems like common sense, but teach it anyway.
Safe cooking tips are very basic, but when they are emphasized each time they will be remembered more easily. While it may seem like unnecessary repetition to repeat them every time, it is absolutely essential. There’s a reason commercials repeat their phone number or brand name over and over again, it gets them stuck in our head!
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