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BATCH COOKING: A Simple Way to Get Kids Involved

Suzanne Mulholland, The Batch Lady

The Batch Lady, Suzanne Mulholland, shares how giving kids a simple task in batch prepping can give them more of a sense of pride and ownership in a healthy meal, meaning they are more likely to give it a go! Find her top tips below.

Studies show us that kids who are involved in the prep and cook of healthy food are more likely to eat it. But the thought of the time, mess and stress involved in getting our kids in the kitchen can stop many of us from attempting it. We’ve tried to make it more accessible by suggesting small ways and single steps kids can get involved with, while still giving them a sense of ownership in the meal over on our Kids in the Kitchen page, as well as a free “Kitchen Ninjas” chart to motivate them in veg-cooking skills, no matter how small and simple.

In the spirit of small, achievable steps by involving children in small steps in the kitchen to minimise the stress for their parents and carers, we asked The Batch Lady, Suzanne Mulholland, to share an easy way to include children in healthy food prep (and save you money and time, too!) through helping you to prepare the food.

To find out more about how batch cooking can be a simple, money-and-time-saving way to eat more healthy foods as a family, visit our batch cooking guide from Suzanne here.

We all want to raise our children to be capable adults, but sometimes the actual practicalities can be tough. Life can be busy, and it’s sometimes easier to do the job yourself, particularly with teaching them how to cook, because there are so many different things you have to factor in. 

When I started The Batch Lady, my goal was to show people that you can cook when you want to, eat when you want to. Preparing and cooking are two separate tasks that do not need to be completed at the same time. When teaching children how to cook, we can
split cooking into these two phases, not moving on to cooking until the first phase is mastered and the child
is old enough. In that way, you are able to halve the amount that you need to teach, allowing small children to learn to love making meals (and enjoy the satisfaction of helping to prepare meals) without any of the danger of being around a hot appliance. 

Choose a few simple meals you already make and love, lay the ingredients on the table and show them how to make their own meals. It’s safe, simple and very rewarding! Using this method can be great fun for kids – it’s quick, easy and has few rules, so they can have a good time and be rewarded with the yummy treat they’ve made while you relax in the knowledge that you have taught them a skill that will help them immensely in life. 

Dealing With Fussy Eaters

If you have a fussy eater, why not get them to choose a recipe or favourite meal that they think sounds good? 

If there’s an ingredient that they don’t like in the recipe, give them a few suggestions for different things they could use instead. That way your fussy eater feels in control of their own food, having made it themselves to their exact requirements. 

What Age Can I Start Batching with kids?


2-5 years


5-10 years

10 years and above

School holidays are a perfect time to get kids batching – it’s a practical use of their time and it’s a fun thing to do. Through the summer holidays, you could have one morning a week when you all sit around the table batching meals. Perhaps you can add the name of the child who batched that specific meal to the bag or container before putting it into the freezer, so you can give them a shout out on the night you cook it. This sense of achievement and pride will encourage your child to want to batch more often. Teaching children young will make your life so much easier when they are teenagers – imagine being able to phone home and ask your teen to take a meal out of the freezer and cook it, ready for when you arrive home. When your kids leave home, you will have given them amazing skills that many other children could only dream of. 

It’s brilliant to think that children have made the meals you will eat as a family, but remember,
you want these meals to be prepared in the best conditions. Here is a hand washing guide to teach your child before starting phase one, to keep everyone safe and healthy. 

  1. Turn on the tap. 
  2. Wash your hands with water. 
  3. Apply one or two squirts of hand soap. 
  4. Rub your hands together. 
  5. Wash the soap off of your hands.
  6. Use a towel or elbow to turn off the tap. 
  7. Dry your hands. 

Extracted from The Batch Lady Grab and Cook by Suzanne Mulholland (Ebury Press, £22). Photography by Andrew Hayes-Watkins. 

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