Jamie Oliver Wants to Get Kids Cooking! September 6, 2016

by Behind the Scenes

HelloFresh and Jamie Oliver are on a mission to get kids in the kitchen. Learn why it’s important and how you can make it happen.

Jamie-Oliver-kids cooking-in-the-kitchen-HelloFresh

©2014 Jamie Oliver Enterprises; photogrpahy David Loftus *

It’s no surprise that eating dinner together as a family has its benefits, from fostering feelings of belonging to controlling the quality of ingredients that make their way into those little tummies. However, HelloFresh and Jamie Oliver both agree that what happens before dinner gets to the table is equally as important as what happens afterwards.

“I can’t recommend enough getting your kids involved in the kitchen nice and early” says Jamie. “Even simple jobs like getting them to pick herb leaves or stir a batter will give them a great sense of accomplishment and will mean they start to understand about and be interested in food from an early age.”

In fact, according to Rebecca, our in-house dietitian, children who assist in meal planning, preparation, and cooking show increased performance during cognitive, emotional, and social activities.

To spread the message as far as possible, we’ve teamed up with Jamie for a family-friendly challenge that’ll get even the pickiest of eaters slicing, dicing, and chopping. The winner will receive a FREE week of HelloFresh, a signed Jamie Oliver cookbook, and a personal congratulations message from Jamie himself! (T&Cs apply)

To participate, snap a photo or record a video of you cooking up a storm with your sous-chefs (aka your kids). Then, show us by sharing it with the hashtag #HelloFreshChallenge from now until September 18.

But before you make a mad dash for the kitchen, listen up: we’ve compiled a list of age-appropriate kitchen tasks and tips that’ll help you make dinnertime a family affair from start to finish.

2-4 years old

Jamie-Oliver-kids cooking-in-the-kitchen-steak-fajitas-HelloFresh

Although young, toddlers can absolutely help out in the kitchen. Just be sure to prop them up on a sturdy chair with a back. The counter should be clean, uncluttered, and free from all potential hazards such as hot liquids, sharp utensils, and cleaning products.

Keeping in mind that their dexterity and motor skills are still developing, you may need to provide extra supervision as they:

  • Add toppings
  • Pour and stir ingredients at room temperature
  • Use cookie cutters
  • Scrub vegetables
  • Pick herbs off the stem

Our go-recipe for youngsters? Easy and customizable steak fajitas.

5-8 years old

Jamie-Oliver-kids cooking-in-the-kitchen-toast-HelloFresh

At this age, kids start to become a bit more independent in the kitchen as their motor skills and ability to follow instructions improves.

Feel free to have them:

  • Sort silverware
  • Wash lettuce
  • Juice lemons and limes
  • Mix ingredients together
  • Learn basic knife skills (around age seven)

*Parents should only introduce this task if they feel comfortable.

*Be sure to carefully observe children handling sharp objects.

This is a great time to get creative with colorful toasts topped with everything from sliced grape tomatoes and mushrooms to creamy avocado and hummus.

And if you’re looking for a fun and easy project to do with kids, DIY indoor herb gardens are the way to go.

9-12 years old

kids cooking-orecchiette-chicken-HelloFresh

At this age, kids can complete everything listed above. Additionally, they can:

  • Invest more time in meal planning by accompanying parents to the market or grocery store to select different vegetables, fruits, and meats (while avoiding these five grocery store foods!)
  • Learn how to use the stove and oven with supervision
  • Set the table
  • Take charge of simple foods such as rice and pasta
  • Recycle

“Little Ears” Pasta with Baby Broccoli and Pesto is perfect for kids in this age group. They can wash and dry the broccoli, stir the pasta, sprinkle on the Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper.

And it goes without saying that kids of any age can do the most delicious job of all: taste testing!

Tips:

  • Patience is key! Although it’s likely easier and quicker for you to complete these tasks yourself, the more often you get your kids cooking, the faster they will be.
  • Resist the urge to do it for them. They’ll never learn if you don’t let them try it on their own. And yes, spills are okay!
  • Meal planning, cooking, and eating with your kids is great, but don’t forget about the clean up. Keep your little helpers involved until the kitchen is clean.
  • Remember, this is just a guide! You know your children best and are the one who should determine whether they are ready for certain kitchen tasks.

Now that you’ve got the recipes, tasks, and tricks up your sleeve, it’s time to start cooking and enter the competition. We can’t wait to see all your photos!

For even more kid-friendly cooking inspiration, check out our 5 ingenious corn on the cob toppings.

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