A teen who can cook can be of immeasurable help to you as a busy parent. But cooking lessons also prepare your teenager with the skills he'll need when he leaves home. Teaching your teen to cook involves more than meal planning and prep, though. To equip him for life on his own, he will need to know the importance of healthy choices, how to shop wisely and how to prepare and preserve food. Plus, he'll need a collection of favorite recipes.
Nutrition and Health
In the thrall of adolescent invulnerability, teens often don't consider the effect of junk food on their long-term health. Cooking lessons for teenagers need to start with showing the link between poor nutrition and health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, obesity or skin and hair problems. To avoid health complications, your teen can practice meal planning using the food pyramid and healthful serving sizes for portion control.
In order to be a good cook, your teen needs to know how to shop wisely. Come up with smart-shopper tips together, including making a shopping list from a menu and sticking to what's on the list. bargain shopping with coupons and not shopping when hungry. In addition, have your teen practice calculating the price per serving and comparing prices of brands to find the best deal.
Putting your teen in charge of the family meal once a week gives her hands-on experience to be ready to fill in when you are swamped or laid up because of illness or injury. Have her keep recipe file or notebook of her own to help her with meal planning whether at home or on her own in the future. Teach her culinary terms such as slice, dice, grate, julienne, braise, glaze, marinate, brown, simmer, boil, fry, bake and roux. Knowing the vocabulary of cooking will make it that much easier to follow a recipe.
By the time he hits high school, challenge your teen to go beyond simple meal prep and learn about proper storage and preservation of food. Teach him about safe cooking and cold storage temperatures. Show him how to can peaches and pears, freeze fruits and vegetables, and make jams and jellies out of the fresh produce of spring and summer.
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