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Cooking, kids and the kitchen AA A

Can your children find their way around a kitchen?

New research conducted by Westinghouse has revealed that family recipes and cooking skills are not being passed to the next generation as they once were.

The Westinghouse Kids in the Kitchen Survey* found that cooking from scratch is in decline, with parents today half as likely as the previous generation to always cook from scratch (26% compared to 53%). 

This lack of ‘kitchen time’ has resulted in over a million parents reporting that they never teach their children to cook. One third (33%) of families teach their kids to cook once a month and 30% of parents report they never share their family cooking traditions, tips and recipes with their kids.

That has real implications for the health of families and children – cooking from scratch lets parents know exactly how much sugar, salts and fats are included in the family’s daily diet. 

If children are not equipped with the basic skills of the kitchen – chopping, cutting, measuring and mixing, it may also lead to a greater reliance in the future on fast and processed, pre-prepared and packaged food – many of which are loaded with artificial flavours, colours, sodium and sugar. 

pasta in a bowlPassing on skills and traditions is critical to keeping cooking alive. Parents whose mothers always cooked from scratch are much more likely to do the same for their children (43% compared to 8%). 

Westinghouse has teamed up with Australia’s favourite home cook and mum, Julie Goodwin have created the Kids in the Kitchen recipe booklet, featuring 12 delicious recipes which the whole family can cook together. Recipes include chocolate banana French toast, sticky chicken drumsticks with Asain slaw and ricotta gnocchi with peas and prosciutto - YUM!

Julie Goodwin believes that getting kids in the kitchen is about having fun, getting messy and enjoying the chaos, as well as teaching them lifelong skills, and encouraged all Aussie families to give it a go this school holidays. 

“Cooking is one of the greatest life skills that you can teach and share with your children. It helps set them up for life for their nutrition and wellbeing as well as proving a wonderful time for the family to spend together.”

Julie’s tips to get kids into the kitchen

Get them involved in the whole process – from going through cookbooks and picking what you’re going to make, to going down to the grocery store and getting the ingredients. Children are far more likely to enjoy cooking and eating what has been created if they have some ownership in the process

Channel your inner green thumb – going to the garden and picking veggies that you have grown together from a seed is very rewarding

Don’t overcomplicate itfocus on simple dishes and the fun behind cooking, teach your kids to clean as they go and minimise the stress in the kitchen

Colour is key – kids love colour, so choose recipes that have vibrant colours throughout like salads and stir-frys

Homemade take away – identify your kids’ favourite takeaway meal and work out how to create them at home in a fresh new way.

grating cheese

food on table

Fast facts

The modern parent now relies on takeaway (82%) and prepared meals and sauces (78%) to fast-track dinner, with one in five parents depending on prepared meals and sauces three or more times each week.

Two-thirds of parents say the biggest barrier to cooking from scratch is that meals need to be prepared quickly (64%), half report being too tired (52%) and a quarter of Australian parents report a lack of planning (28%).

Many families rely on the same seven meals each week to feed the family with more than a third (36%) having 5 or fewer meals in their weekly dinner repertoire

Almost one in four parents admit that their kids never help in the kitchen (23%) and 28% admit their kids only help once a month

The top reasons that kids don’t help in the kitchen include: too busy on their devices (31%), parents are worried about the mess (21%) or too tired/lack the energy to get kids involved in meal-prep (20%).

*The research was conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of Westinghouse in September 2016 involving a representative sample of over 1,000 Australian parents of children aged 18 years or younger in the household.

Download the free e-recipe booklet here: https://www.westinghouse.com.au/news/kids-in-the-kitchen/