How to keep kids safe in the kitchen

Cooking with the kids is a great way to set them up to live more independently and the right food can really give them the energy and the strength to do well in school and help them grow both physically and spiritually in their walk with the lord. Furthermore getting your children to see how the food they eat is prepared is also a great way to help them truly appreciate the effort that goes into cooking, particularly in a society that all too often only focuses on the end product.

However, the health precautions that parents often can take for granted may be a new set of values to their children. So here are 5 fundamental rules to set your house in order, keep your children safe, and help pass on the knowledge of healthy eating to the next generation:

1) Washing your hands correctly

Before you start anything it’s a good idea to wash your hands, however a lot of children just splash some water over their hands and then think that they’re done. But this is not the correct way. As before applying soap it’s alway best to wet your hands, then apply the soap and work up a good lather. Also remember to not only rub the palms of the hands but to also get the back of the hands, between the fingers, under the nails and finally remember to also apply soap to the thumbs too.

2) Wear an apron

Wearing a clean apron is useful as it prevents cross-contamination from you to your food and vice versa. Aprons also protect you from burning especially if you are cooking with boiling liquids. It is also a good idea to remove any jewelry from your hands before cooking to again avoid cross-contamination. And it is a good idea to only wear an apron in the cooking area of the house so you can avoid picking up diseases or spreading food bacteria in other areas around the house.

3) Avoiding getting foreign objects in food

No one likes finding hairs in their soup. So to avoid getting hairs in your food or getting food in your hair, it’s always a good idea to tie hair back in the kitchen. Hair that is not tied back can also snag on objects and obstruct your vision. There is therefore a virtue in presenting yourself well in the kitchen and it’s always a good idea to spruce up and tie children’s hair back before eating anyway, as it can get pretty messy. Disposable gloves are also a good idea to use when handling especially sticky or slimy foods.

4) Storing meat and poultry

Let your children know that meat and poultry must be stored in clean, sealed containers on the bottom shelf of the fridge to avoid cross-contamination as uncooked meat may contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella. Show your children it is also a good idea to store cooked meat on the shelf above uncooked meat to avoid the spread of diseases. It is then a good idea to date and label any meat in the fridge or in the freezer as well, so that you know when to eat it by.

5) Use-by dates versus best before dates It is always a good idea to instill in your children a sense of diligence when they are working with food, and get them to check whether or not the food they’re using is still in date. You should also explain to them the subtle differences in the phrases use-by and best before. As use-by indicates that the food is unsafe to eat after the date, but the best before date indicates that the textures and the flavours of the food may have broken down and may not have as good a taste but are still actually edible.