The Benefits of Cooking and Eating Meals with Your Kids
Considering all the talk about the busyness of our lives, childhood and adult obesity, preparing kids for the future, and building/maintaining real connections with our kids, what could be better to cover all these issues than cooking and eating meals with your kids?
Teaching kids from an early age about food – where it comes from, what’s nutritious, what we have to do to have healthy food, etc. – can all be covered while having fun with them.
Teaching your kids to cook not only gives them a skill that they will enjoy and use for the whole of their lives but it gives parents and kids the time together to talk about things – things that might otherwise get lost in life’s busyness.
Learning to cook can start at a very early age – 2 to 3years of age isn’t too young to start. OK, they aren’t going to make haute cuisine but with a little planning on the parent’s part, they can help make good healthy food the whole family will enjoy. It will also give the child great satisfaction when everyone enjoys what they’ve made.
Getting kids involved in planning and making what they eat can go a long way to helping prevent obesity in later life as well as reducing a child’s reluctance to eat foods they haven’t tried before.
You might ask how cooking and eating meals together helps reduce the potential for obesity?
- Firstly, parents model healthy behavior by eating a reasonably-sized portion from all five food groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. Being shown good eating habits has major repercussions for children – what they eat, how much they eat, when and why they eat, whether or not they have eating disorders or weight issues at some point in their lives.
- Sitting down at the table and eating together provides the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with your children and the other adults in the family. It may be the only time in the day when everyone is together, with television and all the technological gadgets turned off. This could be the time when you find out that your child is being bullied at school or that he/she has had the most wonderful experience and wants to talk about it. Talking at the dinner table provides the opportunity for children to express themselves, they learn to accept that others may have different opinions, improve their verbal skills and learn to listen – all skills that will come in handy throughout their lives.
Cooking, in particular, teaches children to plan so they purchase the necessary ingredients, read with comprehension in order to follow a recipe, work out mathematical solutions – how many servings will we get out of a recipe, become aware of what is nutritious and what isn’t and teaches them about the amount of money it takes to feed a family.
All in all, it’s no bad thing for kids to learn what it takes to prepare a meal – from planning it, to shopping and paying for it, to making the recipes, and cleaning up afterwards.
This is a reality program with real meaning and real results.