By teaching kids to cook, science says they'll make healthier choices as adults

Anna Hecht
Updated 9th August 2018

Story highlights

  • Teaching kids to cook is a good idea, according to science.
  • When they learn to develop cooking skills by adolescence, one study predicts they'll make healthier dietary choices.

Getting kids to form healthy eating habits is no easy task. But why? Have you ever wondered what causes kids (and some adults) to turn up their noses when served leafy greens? Science says it could have a lot to do with how people are taught to nourish themselves as kids.

One study from the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that young adults with strong cooking skills are more inclined to eat healthily as an adult. According to the study, having confidence in the kitchen "led to fewer fast food meals, more meals as a family, and more frequent preparation of meals with vegetables in adulthood."

This information alone was enough to get us thinking about how to better prepare kids and teens with the tools necessary to live healthier lives. Since cooking classes can be super pricey, we decided to instead hunt down kitchen tools for the home. That way, by the time they reach adolescence, they'll know to pass on the fast food joints and instead cook up something nutritious (and delicious) at home. As an added bonus, quality time spent together in the kitchen often draws families closer, making this project a win-win for everyone.

1. The Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Cookbook ($13.40; amazon.com)

A stellar choice for guiding kids through recipes, this Junior Cookbook from Better Homes and Gardens received over 3,000 Amazon reviews from satisfied customers. Many commented on how it's "perfect for beginners" and a "must-buy for a budding chef!"

2. The MasterChef Cooking Essentials Set ($39.99; amazon.com)

This cooking essentials set from MasterChef offers a fun way to introduce the kiddos to everyday kitchen tools. This 9-piece kit comes with an apron, cutting board, mixing bowl, measuring cups, measuring spoon, spatula, spoon and tongs so that they can begin whipping up creations immediately.

3. Sassafras Little Cook Children's Kitchen Tools in Herb Pot Gift Set ($21.71; amazon.com)

For even more versatility in the kitchen, we'd also recommend scooping up this Sassafras Little Cook Children's Kitchen Tools set. It's perfect for kids ages five and up — and comes with an adorable herb pot for storing everything in one place.

4. CrEATive Kitchen Junior Chef Set ($36.49, originally $39.99; amazon.com)

Another awesome cooking set, this option features high quality cookware for the kids in your life. With 35 dishwasher safe, BPA-free cooking and baking utensils, this sturdy kit is made to last, easy to clean and can be used regularly.

5. The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook ($14.99; amazon.com)

For some, cooking is way more fun when feeling inspired. That's why we love this themed Harry Potter cookbook for kids ages 9 to 18. Inside, there are more than 150 magical recipes covering everything from cauldron cakes to pumpkin juice — and Harry's favorite, the Treacle Tart. That way, spending time in the kitchen feels like a whole new experience.

6. The Forest Feast for Kids: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes That Are Simple to Make ($13.96; amazon.com)

For those following plant-based diets, The Forest Feast for Kids by best-selling author Erin Gleeson offers "kid-friendly favorites that are simple to make." Inside, you'll find all-new recipes, "plus ideas for kids' parties and easy-to-follow instructions on techniques, measurements, and other helpful kitchen aides."

7. StarPack Nylon Kitchen Knife Set (Kid-Safe) ($9.71; amazon.com)

StarPack markets these knives as "real knives that cut food, yet won't cut skin." They're 100% FDA Grade and BPA-Free, which makes them safe for the whole family to cook with.

8. The MasterChef Junior Burger Cooking Set ($14.99, originally $27.99; amazon.com)

It can be much healthier to whip up a burger at home than it is to get one from your local fast food joint. Here, the MasterChef Junior Burger Cooking Set offers everything needed for the chef-in-training to perfect his or her burger making skills.

9. Honglida 9-Inch Silicone Rolling Pin for Kids ($6.99; amazon.com)

This kid-friendly rolling pin was made for rolling out dough when making cookies, bread, pretzels, pizza and more. The non-stick surface and comfortable wooden handles make it easy to use each and every time.

10. Curious Chef Kids 6-Piece Fruit and Veggie Prep Kit ($19.99; amazon.com)

This 6-piece fruit and veggie prep kit includes real kitchen tools like a vegetable scrubber, apple slicer and melon baller designed for safe and easy use by children. Fruits are a great way to incorporate healthy snacking in your child's daily life, so that they can start taking ownership over more basic (but important) food preparation tasks like slicing apples.

11. TruChef Kid Sized Cut Resistant Gloves ($16.97; amazon.com)

A smart purchase that will give kids and parents some peace of mind, these cut-resistant gloves are designed so that kids can learn how to use important kitchen items like peelers, knives and scissors without having to worry about injuries. They come in three sizes and two fun colors so there's an option for every young person.

12. Handstand Kitchen 17-Piece Introduction to Real Baking Set ($27.89; amazon.com)

For kids more drawn to baking, this kit serves as a great way to introduce them to all the basic tools and recipes of the craft. This set from Handstand Kitchen is a 17-piece set with silicone baking cups, a silicone loaf pan, tools like a pastry brush and a whisk designed for smaller hands and five recipe cards.

13. Hamilton Beach 4-Quart Automatic Ice-Cream Maker ($33.40; amazon.com)

Yes, making ice cream is not exactly cooking but it can be a way of getting picky eaters interested in learning how the things they eat are actually made. This ice cream maker offers a fun opportunity for kids to customize their mix-in ingredients and you can actually create other frozen treats like gelato and frozen yogurt.