How to Teach Children about Cooking and Food Safety

Whilst you, hopefully, know a lot about kitchen safety, your child will only know what they have been taught or have picked up from watching you.  And, whether you have a large bespoke kitchen designed by, or a small kitchen that you struggle to move around in, you’ll find that children are inquisitive creatures that want to learn more about what you are doing, and even help if they can.  So keep reading for a few tips on how to teach children about cooking and food safety.

Food Safety

  1. Always wash your hands before you handle food. Not only do you carry germs on your hands, but the food you are preparing could also have harmful items on it.
  2. Always wash your hands before handling a new ingredient – this is especially true if you are dealing with raw meats or eggs.
  3. Use different chopping boards and knives for raw meat and other ingredients.
  4. Wash all fruits and vegetables before you use them to remove bacteria.
  5. When using knives, make sure that you cut away from your body – it’s important to teach children about the right knives to use for items, and the best way to use them.
  6. When thawing food, it’s better to do it either overnight in the fridge, or in a bowl of cold water, rather than just in the air.
  7. Cold foods should be kept cold and hot foods should be kept hot. If an item that should be served either hot or cold has been sitting out for more than two hours, it needs to be thrown away.

Cooking Safety

  1. If you are cooking items on the stove, never leave them unattended. It only takes a few seconds for them to boil over, burn, or cause a fire.
  2. When using utensils on a stove, don’t leave them in the pan. Metal utensils can become very hot and will burn your fingers, whilst plastic utensils could melt.
  3. Don’t touch a burner unless you are sure it’s cold – this tip particularly applies to electric ovens.
  4. Make sure to check that the oven is empty before pre-heating it. This tip is especially important if you have young children in the house that are prone to hiding Action Men and other small toys.
  5. Always use an oven mitt or a hot pad to remove items from the oven. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to explain that this is a job that you must do.
  6. Never turn on an empty microwave – at the very least there should be a cup of water inside.
  7. Any dishes that you place in the microwave must have a label that says they are ‘microwave safe’.
  8. Avoid rushing around whilst cooking – this is when accidents happen.

When teaching children about cooking safety, you need to consider their age and maturity level.  They could always start by helping you out with small jobs, and increase their experience as they grow older.  Can you think of any more tips to teach your children about cooking safety?

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