Cooking with children – Interview with Lisa Aldwin from Eat Smart Sheffield

Cooking with children – Interview with Lisa Aldwin from Eat Smart Sheffield

Lisa Aldwin is the Programme Manager of Eat Smart Sheffield – a Sheffield City Council funded initiative that focusses on a whole school approach to food and nutrition. Lisa is also a Registered Nutritionist and a mum of two.

For more information about the Eat Smart Sheffield programme, please follow them on their social media platforms:

Facebook: @eatsmartsheff

Instagram: @eatsmartsheffield

Twitter: @eatsmartsheff


I have asked Lisa about her experience and to share her top tips with us!

How often do you cook or bake with your children? What has been the biggest challenge?

We’re a busy family – 2 full time working parents, 2 primary aged children who do various activities outside of school (football, gymnastics, cubs, tennis etc etc!) so it’s difficult finding the time to cook or bake together.  However, I know how important it is and when we do do it, we all have a fun time!  We probably do it at least once a month but I’m hoping to increase this, and as the children get older, I think it will become easier as they will be able to do more.  In fact, my just-turned 11 year old son has recently started baking independently.  He took over the kitchen just last week, told me I wasn’t allowed to go in until he’d finished – and half an hour later produced some delicious chocolate chip cookies!  He was so proud of himself and I was so proud of him – he even cleaned up after himself!!

Why do you think we should do it?

I think it’s really important to teach children how to cook proper, healthy meals – after all, one day they will have to cook for and feed themselves (Mum isn’t always going to produce the goods like is expected now!).  We’ve made a variety of dishes together including spaghetti Bolognese, chilli, jambalaya, homemade pizza, stir frys, and shepherd’s pie – all of which have been a hit! You soon realise children can do more in the kitchen than we may credit them for – they’re great at peeling, chopping, stirring, mashing, and of course washing up!  You may also find they are more likely to eat what is made as they’ve contributed, and they (hopefully!) become more grateful when they realise the time and effort put into cooking meals every day.

What advice can you give us? What worked well for your family that we could learn from?

My advice is to give cooking with your children a go – I’m sure it will be a great experience for you all!  Start off with a well-known or much-loved dish, nothing too complicated and one that you will all enjoy sharing and eating together. From there you can start experimenting with new ingredients or explore different meal ideas.  Look at cookbooks (check out charity shops or borrow them for free from your local library) or search on foodie websites (there are loads of recipes available online for free). The possibilities are endless and if you do it with your children, not only do you all get well fed at the end of it, but you can feel content knowing you’re teaching them skills for life 🙂