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Learning how to go shopping for food, prepare ingredients, and cook a meal are essential life skills that too few parents teach their children before they grow up and leave home. For children, the better prepared they are to later go into the world as grownups, the fewer sleepless nights that parents will likely have.

Here are a few suggestions for how to get the whole family to participate in the family meals.

Getting Organized

As with learning how to balance a checkbook or a checking account, it’s helpful for kids to start with the food basics. This begins with planning out a few meal times by preparing a basic list of useful ingredients to stock up on. Also, help your kids go through the kitchen cupboards to discover what essentials that you’ve either run low on or run out of completely. Once the list is complete, it’s time to go shopping.

Explain to the children that finding bargains with discounted items and using “loss leaders” which are heavily discounted items to encourage people to come into the supermarket, cuts down on the family food bill. Using coupons on selected items also saves some money too. Give each child the responsibility of their own list of their food items, even if you’re going around with them because they’re too young to roam areas of the supermarket alone.

Work with a Budget

Along with food shopping, working with a budget for the weekly shopping bill helps children to understand more about how their parents manage the money coming in and going out. They can add up the cost of what’s in the shopping cart or trolley and see if they’ve managed to come in under, on, or over budget. Perhaps, create a small incentive scheme so that when the family saves, they benefit in some way too.

Create Meal Plans

Use children’s cookbooks to help them find recipes that will work as a family using the ingredients they have in the refrigerator. If you think they’ll be able to plan the shopping trip based on a series of selected meals from a cookbook, let them choose the meals first and create the list of ingredients based on these recipes.

Learn to Cook Using Different Equipment

Depending on their respective ages, the kids should learn how to cook different meals using a variety of cooking equipment. Boiling an egg is perhaps the first lesson for a younger child who’s eager to make boiled eggs and finger bread soldiers. For kids older than 10 years, they are ready to use the grill under direct supervision.

Older children and teenagers should learn how to bake and use the oven. Once they’ve mastered using the conventional indoor oven, it’s time to try out the outdoor electric smoker, if your family owns one. The Bradley 4 rack 76 liter is one of the most dependable models and has a larger capacity to smoke different meats on several levels at the same time. If you’re considering buying an electric smoker, a Bradley model is a dependable choice.

Providing your children (not just the girls) with the life skills to prepare a list of ingredients, to go shopping successfully for what they need, prepare the ingredients, and then cook delicious meals is a complete skill set that lasts a lifetime. Leaving home without possessing this knowledge and having had time to practice it leaves young adults struggling to manage an everyday need.

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