Kids with autism are more likely than their peers to have food aversions, which leads to a poor quality diet. Inviting children into the kitchen to experience various textures and temperatures is often the first step to eventually tasting something new. Research shows that children are more likely to eat a meal when they are involved in its preparation and that children who are exposed to food outside of meal times tend to have diverse diets.
The benefits of cooking extend beyond diet. Cooking is a valuable life skill that fosters confidence and independence. Being in the kitchen with others can improve communication and social skills. Following a recipe teaches reading, listening, math, and sequencing. Learning to prepare food can promote sensory integration and focus. Finally, many parents find that cooking with their child is a gratifying opportunity for connection.