An interesting 10-year study of 18-23 year old young adults sheds some light on the importance of being able to cook, and their perception of their cooking skills

Cooking in the kitchen with your kids

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A curious thing is happening in many families – there is less cooking going on and more ordering out for pick-up meals. So that means that those important cooking skills – basic cooking skills – are not being shared with the children in the family because there is limited cooking time in the kitchen.

An interesting 10-year study of 18-23 year old young adults sheds some light on the importance of being able to cook, and their perception of their cooking skills. Ten years later, the health of their diet was assessed.

At the beginning of the study, many of the 18-23 year old participants felt their cooking skills were adequate; one-quarter felt that their skills were very adequate.

Ten years later, the same study participants were interviewed. The researchers found that those who felt their cooking skills were adequate at the beginning of the study included more vegetables at their meals. If they had a family, there were more meals eaten at home and together as a family. These same participants ate fewer fast food meals, and felt there were few barriers to food preparation at home. Feeling very adequate in cooking skills at the beginning of the study meant even better home prep outcomes 10 years later.

This study speaks to parents of children of all ages. Bring your children into the kitchen with you so that they can feel very comfortable there. Start them out young standing beside you. They can stir and gently whisk ingredients. As they age provide more complicated tasks. They should leave the house to live on their own knowing basic cooking skills like boiling water for rice and pasta, cooking eggs in different ways, and cooking protein foods such as fish and chicken in a variety of ways. They should also learn how to read and follow a simple recipe, and learn how to stir, flip, fold and whisk.

With summer upon us, it might be the perfect time to spend time with your children who will be leaving the nest soon to be on their own in an apartment.  Have mini cooking lessons. What a special time it will be for the two of you. And this kitchen training will better prepare them to make meals at home from scratch, helping health and money-wise also.

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.