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I get it, we are all busy, especially this time of year. Between work and shuffling the kids around, shopping, helping with homework and managing a household, it is difficult to find time to cook healthy meals every night for your family. But however impossible you might believe it to be, the benefits of home cooking are huge. On top of that, when you bring your child into the kitchen to help you cook a meal, the results are priceless. The health advantages, bonding opportunities, creative expression and essential life skill development of cooking are essential to raising a well adjusted child. Here’s why….
Better for their body: In this day and age most children are growing up in busy households where their parents may not have the time or energy to cook wholesome healthy meals every night. As a result, kids and parents today are too often relying on fast food and processed foods, thus creating an overwhelming increase in childhood obesity rates. Home cooking allows you to choose fresh, organic ingredients free from pesticides, preservatives and all sorts of other chemicals and unnecessary food additives that are prevalent in the grocery store aisles.
Also, when a child is allowed to experiment in the kitchen, they begin to understand about where our food comes from and learn to respect and appreciate it. When a child creates a dish, no matter what it is, they will eat it or at least try it. As they begin to try new things and develop new tastes, they will develop their palette…Introduce them to the joys of cooking and you’ll be surprised at what they will eat……If they don’t like salad, have them make a salad with you and guess what…they will eat it and most likely enjoy it.
Better for your family: Unfortunately many kids miss out of the lovely memories and bonding opportunities that evolve from cooking together in the kitchen that we had as children. My earliest and fondest memories are cooking with my grandmother. Cooking together provides an opportunity to be together to bond and create special moments. Cooking together gets families back into the kitchen and enjoying healthy meals around the dinner table. Even if it is just peeling potatoes together, it’s a great opportunity to talk.
Better for their future: Cooking is a valuable skill and is becoming a lost art. It is no longer offered in most schools and too many parents are too busy to teach their kids how to cook, much less cook themselves. Learning to cook builds self confidence and stimulates creativity. It also reduces the likelihood that your child will become a picky eater. If a child never learns to cook, he or she will be facing a lifetime of dining out or ordering in and most likely pass this legacy on to their children, thus perpetuating the cycle.
Better for the planet: When you cooking from scratch you are eliminating many harmful preservatives and additives that are commonly found in processed store-bought food to maintain shelf life. You are also more likely to buy fresh ingredients that are grown closer to home. This saves on fossil fuels used to transport packaged items and used to make the packaging itself. This creates a stronger, more sustainable local economy for all of us to live in.
In conclusion, the next time you are in the kitchen, whether cooking a whole meal or just a snack, ask your kids to help you. They will love it, and you will be begin to build them a solid foundation for a life-time of healthier eating.