Growing Connections Teaching Tips and Recipes
Teaching tips for cooking with kids
Cooking is a great way for youth to develop the skill and confidence to prepare snacks or meals using fresh, nutritious ingredients. Preparing recipes with groups of youth creates excitement about eating new foods. It actively engages them in a fun and creative process. Also, cooking and preparing recipes provides youth with the opportunity to practice and learn teamwork and cooperation, communication, reading, and math skills, and a sense of responsibility. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when preparing food with groups of youth:
- Washing Hands and Personal Hygiene
- Always wash hands before handling food. Adults should demonstrate proper hand washing with warm water and soap. Thoroughly scrub all surfaces of the hands for the duration of the “A-B-C song” or to the count of 20. Rinse and dry with a paper towel.
- Youth should, remove all rings and bracelets before washing hands, roll-up their sleeves and tie back long hair before handing food.
- Keeping Food Safe
- Provide a clean and sanitized work surface for handling food. A clean, plastic table cloth can also be used to cover the work area.
- Have an adequate supply of paper towels on hand for spills.
- Wash hands frequently while preparing food.
- Safety in the Kitchen
- Make a list of safety rules to hang on the wall.
- Students should always have adult supervision in the kitchen when using knives, the stove, or oven.
- Only adults should put things into or remove hot items from oven.
- Be cautious of hot burners, even after they have been turned off. Keep saucepan handles turned towards the side when using the stove.
- Only adults should handle hot, melted butter.
- Keep the floor clean of debris that could cause a fall.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and first aid kit on hand for emergencies.
- Using Knives
- Demonstrate the proper use of knives by cutting towards the table and holding fingers away from the sharp edge of the knife.
- Adults should cut fruits or vegetables into larger pieces first, then let students do the final slicing and chopping.
- Work with older students individually when handling sharp knives, by initially holding the knife with them, keeping fingers out of harms way, and emphasizing the importance of cutting slowly and safely. Have only one sharp knife in use at a time.
- Younger students may find it safer to use plastic serrated knives or serrated dinner knives when cutting some fruits or vegetables.
- Secure the cutting board with a damp towel.
- Organizing Cooking Projects
- Review and read through materials needed, ingredients, and directions before starting a recipe. Choose recipes that include ingredients that are seasonal and locally available from a farmer’s market or fresh from the garden.
- Set up work area at the appropriate height for the students. Oftentimes, standing at a kitchen table is ideal
- Use electric frying pans or portable electric burners so students can see and do more of the cooking than possible on a full-sized stove.
- When measuring ingredients, use a tray to catch spills. Use large mixing bowls.
- Organize an assembly line of ingredients of separate bowls and plates for salads, burritos, pitas, etc.
- Other Helpful Tips
- Encourage youth to try new foods, but never force them to eat food they do not like. Model healthy choices by eating food with youth.
- Provide a separate table in the same room (away from the food) with journals, coloring sheets and crayons so youth don’t lose interest in the cooking project when they have completed their task.
- Establish a routine with youth for sitting down and eating food together as a group.
Last modified June 10 2009 12:26 PM