The Benefits of Cooking as a Family
Nothing imparts inspiration, fun and bonding like cooking meals with your family. Sometimes it can be stressful or chaotic, but in the end it’s always entertaining.
In our house we were taught the value of sharing at least a couple of meals together a week, despite being very busy. Back then my father did alot of the cooking and we never ate food out of a box. Meals cooked with fresh ingredients, rice dishes, stews and curries made the variety of our dinners interesting. They didn’t have alot of money, but they knew how to stretch a meal made for 5 to include friends or family stopping in for a last minute visit.
As an adult, I try to continue the way my parents began, creating as many homemade meals for us to eat that are healthy and satiating. As a nutritionist with a profession in sports and movement, I have a better sense of foods that are best to focus on and those to avoid.
What are some of the benefits of cooking with your family?
Canada’s Food Guide notes some wonderful benefits of home cooking with the family and especially children. These include:
- Learning new skills.
- Controling what goes into your meal, relying on less processed food.
- Making foods that your family likes.
- Saving money and avoiding extra money on take out or eating out.
- Kids learn how to put together a nutritious meal.
- Cooking together builds interest in the meal.
- Allows us to make healthier choices – we can control how much sodium, sugar or fat goes into a meal.
This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook -- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun!Julia Child
How can you be successful in your meal preparations?
Whether you are cooking for an occasion with family or just cooking for the week there are a few strategies that you can do to help make the process successful.
- Preparation is key – plan ahead for the ingredients you need, then clean and chop them up before you are ready to use them.
- Plan to cook meals in a big batch – you can then freeze extra in smaller dishes to eat throughout the week!
- Have a healthy stocked pantry – this can be a small shelf or a dedicated space. Think about spices, organic stocks, onions, garlic, dried beans/peas/legumes and grains.
- Explore different cooking options – poach, stir fry, grill, bake, slow cook/braise or steam.
- Try to include 4 colours in your meals – green being the most important!
Cindy is a registered acupuncturist, certified Pilates instructor, holistic nutritionist and a foodie. She works with her patients to support their whole body health, emphasizing self care, living a positive life and nourishing the body and mind. Cindy is the owner/creator of My Fit Over 50, a website dedicated to health of women through menopause.