Fun fact: Cooking together has many more benefits for your family than just getting food on the table. We know, sometimes you want to save time, prevent the “hanger” attacks from making you the number one target, and simply get it done. But bear with us…
For starters, kids learn by doing. We know you’ve heard that before, but have you considered it in terms of cooking? It is never too early to get the kids in the kitchen. Start by giving children simple tasks that you model and they can follow. Then, slowly work your way through more complex steps in the cooking process. Through cooking, kids learn problem-solving skills by converting recipes and ingredient substitution. They also learn how to think ahead by planning menus and developing shopping lists.
Cooking as a family in a relaxed, fun environment can show your kids how enjoyable eating nutritious foods can be. Children are likely to try new foods when they see family members eating them and are even more likely to try new foods when they help prepare them. Experiment with a variety of fresh herbs, vegetables and cooking methods to make it fun.
Lastly, cooking together and family mealtimes are a great opportunity to connect with each other. Social interaction is an important life skill. Making dedicated time to have meaningful discussions about what is going on in your lives will help keep your family connected.
Bottom Line: Let’s say good-bye to eating out and make eating at home the norm.
Cooking and eating together as a family, even if it starts off with one day a week, will help develop beneficial skills that last a lifetime.
Written by: Kelsey Bird, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern