Home cooking when you are in a rush can be really stressful if you try to do it all yourself. But if your children are special needs, this skill is invaluable to their well being and quality of life. So you need lots of patience and time blocks when it is time to enlist them into some cooking with visuals and great pictures. So that the recipes are easy to understand and are less likely to cause any type of emergency set back.
The most obvious issue, especially when it comes to special needs, is safety in the kitchen. They should always wash their hands well before engaging in any meal preparation, have an apron to protect their clothes and a work station away from any hot oven or stove.
Be sure to have kid-safe mixing bowls and measuring cups. Also consider getting a chopper with a plunger. All they have to do is put the food under it and press down with both hands.
Teach them fun and interesting things as you cook. Kids love to explore and learn, especially special needs children or adults. You are never to old or too young to learn a cooking skill for life.
Cook Their Favorites
Most children love pizza, pasta, burgers, meatloaf, and so on. Special needs children or adults are no different, so they can help learn how to make all of these things. Have them help you roll out the pizza dough, or make English muffins or French bread pizza. Get them to help you toss the pasta with sauce, cheese and olive oil.
Let them roll up their sleeves to get messy with burgers and meatloaf and use the classic plastic forming shapes, so you can make them ahead of time so all you have to do is defrost them.
For meatloaf, they will love to knead in the egg, spices, bread crumb, tomatoes and olives if you use them. At the end of the meal, have them help you make meatloaf sandwiches for the next day.
In addition to using their little chopper, special needs children/adults love using their hands, depending on where they are on the spectrum and any sensitivities they may have to textures or touch;whereas others love getting their hands into things, for instance tearing into lettuce with a salad spinner, washing the salad, and/or using the salad spinner to get all the water out.
Every child loves desserts. Keep control of what you eat by making them at home. You can cook quick microwave cakes, or bake a pie/cookies in the oven.
While you are in the kitchen preparing dinner, or washing up afterwards, the children can help you get a head start on the next meals of the day. Scramble some eggs. Add cheese if you wish. Cook and crumble some sausage or bacon. Put it all together into a flour tortilla and wrap in waxed paper. You will have heat and eat breakfast burritos you can even take with you as you run out the door.
Try French toast you can heat and eat on the go, or French toast sandwiches with your favorite fillings, such as ham, cheese, Nutella, peanut butter, and so on.
Brown Bag Lunches
If you and the family brown bag it every day, get a jump start by making them up the night before. Special need kids love to help, at least mine does, everyone's situation may be a little different but tweak it so that it favors who you, your family and your special needs child(ren) are. They can help with laying out the bread, adding mayo, mustard, etc. Make the sandwiches fun by letting the kids cut them with cute cookie cutters. You can eat the rest once the shapes are cut out:-).
There are lots of ways special needs children can help in the kitchen. Start them off by skill level and be patient and ready for messes. Over time, their skills will definitely improve, until they will be a real help in the kitchen and hopefully have developed a love of healthy food as well.
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