Better Care

Get cooking with your kids

Cooking With Your Kids

Cookery classes for parents and their children are being held in primary schools to tackle the obesity epidemic. Families across Birmingham are being taught how to become master chefs and teach their children how to cook nutritious meals in a safe way.

The sessions, already held at a number of primary schools, are run by Food Net, part of Birmingham Community Healthcare’s Community Nutrition Service. Children between the ages of 7 and 11 can attend the classes. There are five 90 minute classes per course and they learn how to cook a range of dishes from healthy pizzas to salsas, placing them in contact with vegetables that they have never even heard of before.

The keen young chefs are taught not only about various recipes, but also how to safely use a knife, with many of them enjoying the chopping experience the most.

Sarah Bates, Food Net Operational Manager explains: “Food Net has been delivering cookery sessions for 15 years. It started with adult classes as first but after a participant, a mother requested that she would love to bring her child along. We developed the idea from there 4 years ago. For some children this is the first time they have ever participated in cooking and preparing food. They are learning completely new skills including how to use a knife safely. The impact of these sessions is widespread, with many parents reporting that their children have become more involved in kitchen life at home, and are more keen to reduce salt and fat content in their diets as they recognise the health and physical benefits.

As well as learning to cook, there are also challenges, including one which involves them taking a five-a-day test in a bid to increase their portions of fruit and vegetables. There is also a focus on fizzy drinks and how they can affect their health. We do see a decrease in the amount of sugary drinks that youngsters have as a result of a sugar game. Everyone knows about fizzy drinks but not everyone knows about sugary soft drinks. There are seven parents per class and each can bring one child. A favourite dish is the home made pizza, especially when it comes to chopping up the vegetables. They also love preparing a mango and avocado salsa again because of the chopping involved.

Since 2009, the Food Net team have delivered 166 Cooking With Your Kids courses in primary schools in Birmingham.