Explore the benefits of having a family meal time

Picture of mother and son for family meal time article

Parents, grandparents and youngsters cooking together in the kitchen, sharing family recipes and secrets passed from one generation to the next can be the gift that keeps on giving.

It’s true that including the kids in cooking meals requires time, patience and some extra clean-up. But many experts think it is well worth the effort, with both short-term and long-term benefits.

Short-term benefits:

  • It encourages kids to try healthy foods. It may not happen overnight, but generally speaking, the more you cook with your kids, the more foods they’ll be willing to try, and the more likely they are to come to enjoy fruits and vegetables.
  • Kids are more likely to sit down to a family meal when they helped prepare it.
  • Cooking brings families together. Parents and kids get to spend quality time together talking and having fun.
  • Helping out feels good. Kids feel like they are accomplishing something and contributing to the family.

Long-term benefits:

  • Kids learn a skill they can use for the rest of their lives.
  • Kids who learn to eat well may be more likely to eat healthfully as adults.
  • Positive cooking experiences can help build self-confidence.
  • Kids who cook with their parents may be less likely to abuse drugs.

Even in the holiday hustle and bustle, families can work together for meal preparation: Adults can be in charge of the entrée, older kids can prepare the salad, and little ones can set the table. To read more about meal planning, check out Good Nutrition is the Basis of Good Health.

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