Cooking Up Family Time, Together

Kids are healthier and perform better in school when the family eats together. Check out a few tips to help busy families find time around the table.

When families cook together

Cooking together strengthens bonds, passes on traditions, improves the family diet and gets meals on the table faster. What more could you ask?

The power of fun

When you turn meal preparation into family fun, the association of good food and good times lasts a lifetime. Treasured recipes are passed on and valuable kitchen skills learned. Kids are exposed to a great variety of different foods as the dishes are being assembled and cooked, and parents can slip nutrition information into the process naturally as they go along. And, when there’s fun to be had, family members who often eat on their own are a lot more likely to eat with you.

What’s so good about it?

Research reveals that kids (9 to 14 years old) who often eat dinner with their family consume more fruits, vegetables and milk products (foods Canadians don’t usually get enough of), consume less pop, fried foods and fat, and are better nourished overall. They also do better socially, physically and academically. And parental oversight means that their chances of having eating disorders or being overweight are reduced too.

Role with it

Your power as a role model is awesome. Even rebellious teens admit that parents are their biggest influences. If you make fruits and vegetables available at all times and eat them with gusto, your kids are more likely to as well. If you serve and drink milk with meals and choose yogurt for snacking, your kids will likely follow suit. Good habits are contagious!

Pizza night!

Individual pizzas are fun to make together. Lay out toppings and condiments and encourage wild combinations. Overall, use whole-grain bases (lightly toasted first) and aim for four food groups on each pizza. For greens, go with a tossed salad on the side.

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