You may think that meal planning is just a part of being a parent, and something that’s just for adults. But, you can add it to your homeschool curriculum!
You can actually make meal planning an educational time for your child in a plethora of ways! Take a look at Making Meal Planning Educational For Your Homeschooler!
Meal planning and meal preparation involve math. You have to think about how much food you need to buy for each meal as well as how much of certain ingredients go into the meal.
It’s a great way to practice use of the scale in your kitchen as well as portion sizes. And when you’re at the grocery store with your child, you can have them read labels to figure out weights and measurements.
Build knowledge of basic kitchen tools
Home economics class in school is a slowly dying field, and so your children are left not knowing basic kitchen tools and how to use them. When meal planning, you have to think about what tools you have in your kitchen so that you know what you’re able to make.
For example, if you want to make a meringue, but don’t have an electric mixer, then that won’t really be possible. Give your child a tour of the kitchen, explain each of the tools, and have them help you figure out which meals your kitchen is able to help you make. Take a look at this guide to kitchen tools and utensils!
Learn nutritional skills
Nutritional skills are not innately known. We have to be taught! While planning meals with your child, you can begin to incorporate lessons about getting enough nutrients in our diet and how to select healthy vs. unhealthy foods.
Think about what good foods you can add to your meal planning list for the week. Where can you add vegetables and fruits? Should you have dessert once or twice a week? For help, check out the US government health and nutrition guidelines!
Develop organizational skills
This may seem like a skill that can be developed without really trying, but no. Organizational skills are becoming more needed and practiced in schools, and you should do the same in your homeschool!
The very nature of meal planning is organizational, and it’s a great way to practice with your child how to plan effectively and efficiently and why! The child will have to think about what meals they want to have during the week and what they will need for each meal. You could even go so far as to have them organize meals per day according to the prep and cook time to fit into your busy schedule!
You could use a calendar to plan out each week or practice with another type of graphic organizer. There are plenty of organization tools online for you to print or to edit online! Check out these seven online meal and menu planning tools!
Make a grocery list
This could fit into learning organizational skills, but it could be a little bit different. Once your meals have been planned for the week, it’s time to make the grocery list! You could incorporate a number of different skills with list-making.
Your child could alphabetize the list or organize it by food group. Once you both have been to the store many times, they could even create an efficient list organized by where each of the items can be found! List-making is a wonderful tool that helps your child in their planning and preparation skills as well as their pre-thinking skills.
Learn all about food and kitchen safety
Lastly, why not talk about food and kitchen safety while you’re meal planning? Again, safety is not an innate skill. Your child will need to be taught! So, while touring the kitchen, talk to your child about how to safely use the tools.
Talk about how to select fresh ingredients so that we do not get sick. Discuss how to wash fruits and vegetables, safety around the stove and oven, how to handle raw meat appropriately, and more!
Then, when you’re actually at the store, you and your child can talk about expiration dates, what foods to put in the freezer, and why seals are important on certain foods. For a good related resource, check out the 5 Rules of Kitchen Safety!
Meal planning can sometimes be a bit of a bore, and it usually falls to the parents. But, involve your children in the weekly meal planning, and make it both fun & an educational time!
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