Making the time to freezer cook is essential to keeping healthy foods on the table during the busy week – it also does wonders for my sanity as well. I work 40 hours a week so my time is very limited. When I am not at work I want to spend time with my family. However, I still need to find the time to clean my house and cook – it is a constant balancing act.
Early on I realized that I needed to find a way to include my kids during my freezer cooking sessions. Especially on the weekends when I could easily be spending a few hours at a time preparing meals for the freezer.
Getting my kids involved in freezer cooking affords me the extra time to spend with them while I am working in the kitchen. They love to help and it also gives me the opportunity to teach my girls about food and cooking. It is important to me that they do not grow up thinking that all food comes from a box or drive through. I want them to know that the meals we eat are the result of real ingredients coming together. They need to know how to put recipes together so one day, when on their own, the meals they eat consist of more than just ramen noodles. Plus, I have found that my kids are more likely to eat foods they helped to prepare.
I know sometimes having kids in the kitchen can be a lot of work and a bit frustrating especially when your time is limited and you want to get done quickly. While it is not always appropriate or effective having the kids help out I encourage you to try and have a couple things for them to do when you can.
To make freezer cooking a family affair I have compiled a list of tasks that my kids have helped out with. Of course, you want to make sure these tasks are age appropriate for your children. You know their skill and maturity level so use your judgment when giving kids kitchen responsibilities.
For the older kids this helps them to practice reading and sorting. They also get a chance to learn about recipes and the ingredients it will need.
Kids of all ages love to crack eggs. It is fascinating to them and they feel so accomplished when they get that yoke out. Be aware that you might have to fish out some shells.
Wash vegetables and fruits
My youngest loves to clean everything but her room. She especially likes to wash things with water so this is always a task I give to her. Of course, I will check her work because I prefer not to have dirt lingering in my food.
I just recently started letting my 7 year old flip pancakes on the griddle. She was so excited and felt very proud of her finished pancakes. It does take longer but if you have time this is a good job to give an older child.
This is a favorite job of both my girls. Yes I know it is completely gross for them to have their hands in raw meat. However, as long as they wash there hands before and after they will be fine.
This is another job both of my girls enjoy doing. Now I will say they don’t look as nice as when I do them but I have learned to let go of perfectionism. Plus it is nice to have the help.
Whether it be cookies, muffins, or cupcake my kids love using the cookie scoop to measure out batter. This is a great time to teach them about portion control with the treats we like to eat.
Both of my girls have become food wrapping princesses. I have a huge box of plastic wrap that has a safety cutter. This makes it easy and safe for kids to use. I purchased this from my local warehouse store.
One thing I don’t let them do is anything that involves knives or an open flame. I have no interest in going to the ER for stitches or burns.
Those are just a few of the kitchen jobs I give my kids so they can help during my freezer cooking sessions. As they get older, more comfortable, and skilled they will be able to do a lot more – and I can’t wait!
What kitchen jobs do you have your kids help with?