Why Cooking & Eating Together as a Family is so Important

Why Cooking & Eating Together as a Family is so Important 


Growing up in the 80’s, supper time was the best part of the day.   We would either skip home quickly or sulk slowly, depending on what was for dinner!   Every kid had their favourite meal, jobs were delegated before and after the meal, and memories were made.  

Now, not only do we encourage eating together as a family (hey–life is busy, it doesn’t happen every night, but we do our best), we also encourage helping out with the meal.   Since starting our Online Cooking Class business, our kids are now exposed to so many different types of food, they see how much fun we have putting dinner together, and naturally have begun to ask to help out.   

Cooking together as a family offers so many benefits that extend beyond simply preparing a meal. These advantages span various aspects of family life, including health, education, emotional well-being, and social skills:

  1. Strengthening Family Bonds:
    • Quality Time: Cooking together allows family members to spend quality time together, where any age can participate.  You can stir something as soon as you can hold a spoon!   
    • Shared Responsibility: It creates a sense of shared responsibility and teamwork, as each family member contributes to the meal preparation.   Even setting the table, clearing the table, and taking turns doing the dishes.  I was actually surprised at how well my 8-year old rocked the dishes, and it made him feel great at a job well done.  

  2. Promoting Healthy Eating Habits:
    • Nutritional Awareness: Involving children in cooking helps them understand where their food comes from and the importance of nutrition, leading to healthier eating habits.  We encourage tasting along the way & trying new foods.  One of our favourite meals this year was our Bibimbap Class.  This allowed everyone to customize their bowl, being in control of what you want to add, and adding new things the next time.   
    • Home-cooked Meals: Families that cook together are more likely to prepare balanced, home-cooked meals, which are typically healthier than processed or restaurant foods.  This is a no-brainer: and cooking from scratch does not need to take hours and hours.   Quick meals such as Creamy Mushroom Pork Chops  and Cauliflower Mac n’ Cheese come together quickly, especially if you’ve delegated some jobs in the kitchen.   What we find is that we can train our palettes: the more whole foods we eat at home, the less cravings for fast food are happening.   Hey, it doesn’t mean the occasional fast food meal doesn’t happen, life is busy.   But when we can opt for homemade vs. store-bought, our palettes thank us.  

  3. Educational Benefits:
    • Practical Skills: Cooking teaches practical life skills, including meal planning, food preparation, and cleaning up.  We’ve taught our kids to properly use a knife starting at a very early age.  Our Knife Skills Class takes you through all of the basics of knife safety.   This, in turn, has lessened the load of lunch or dinner time in our households.   One of our kids LOVES green onions.  Now he can easily get them chopped up for his daily dose of Noodles!   
    • Math and Science: most obviously, cooking involves measurements, fractions, and timing.   We see this mostly in baking, but even simply learning how to properly season with salt can be a scientific lesson: a little at a time to create balance of flavours.  

  4. Emotional Well-being:
    • Stress Relief: Cooking can be a relaxing and enjoyable activity that reduces stress and promotes mindfulness.   This sounds like a dream, but with the whole family in the kitchen, is it really a reality?!  Start small, start simple.  Pancakes are the most popular choice to begin cooking together as a family, and as you progress from there, as everyone gains more kitchen confidence, it can become relaxing.  Or maybe an evening of cooking a slow braised meal, by yourself, glass of wine in hand, is your idea of stress relief (it is ours!).  At least get someone to set the table and enjoy the meal together :).  
    • Sense of Accomplishment: Completing a meal together can give family members a sense of achievement and pride.  Enough said.  When a kid beams with pride after making even a simple salad, the feeling becomes addictive and will only add to the enjoyment of family meal.  Our Junior Chef class is the perfect start to getting kids to help with putting dinner on the table! 

  5. Building Confidence and Independence:
    • Skill Development: Children who participate in cooking gain confidence in their abilities, learning to follow recipes, and make decisions in the kitchen.   Creative experimentation happens with ingredients (whether it goes well or not!), at least they are trying!   A simple ice cream sundae bar is the perfect way to start with little kids, moving on up to creating your own rice or noodle bowl as they get a little older.  Cooking together requires A LOT of communication and cooperation, only enhancing these skills in a practical setting.  
    • Independence: As children become more proficient, they gain independence and the ability to contribute meaningfully to household tasks.   We see this independence move into the real job world.  First part-time jobs can be difficult to get, but by giving them a few real-life skills at home, it has helped to gain employment in the real world!  Problem solving in the kitchen is a reality, as you need to make adjustments to recipes based on timing or ingredients or tastes.  This can only help to translate to problem solving in the real world! 

  6. Learn Cultural and Family Traditions:
    • Cultural Heritage: By far this is one of our strongest arguments for getting families to cook together.  So often we hear of recipes that ‘Grandma used to cook’ but now no one knows how.   Cooking traditional family recipes can be a way to pass down cultural heritage and family history.  Growing up, Perogies and Cabbage Rolls were recipes that we had at every occasion.  We are thrilled to pass these cherished recipes along to both our families, and you!   Cooking special meals for holidays and celebrations reinforces family traditions and creates lasting memories! 

Cooking (and eating!!) together as a family provides so many benefits that contribute to the physical, emotional, and social development of all family members. It encourages healthier eating habits, teaches valuable life skills, strengthens family bonds, and creates lasting memories.   There may be a few spills along the way, but as we always say, you have to eat anyway!   

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