Today we have a guest post from Joey Lee from The Kids Cook Monday all about the benefits of getting your kids involved in preparing the family meal.
Real Simple’s Take Back Dinnertime Challenge wants to get people back into the family dinner groove. During the month of September they’re offering videos, tips, meal ideas and cool contests to inspire parents to take the time to sit down for a family dinner.
An easy way to keep it up throughout the year is to try The Kids Cook Monday, a new project of the Monday Campaigns, a public health initiative associated with Columbia, Johns Hopkins and Syracuse Universities.
Experts agree that cooking and eating as a family has a range of positive benefits from better health to better grades. A study in the Journal of Pediatrics found a lower incidence of obesity among kids who ate regular family dinners. And research conducted by the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that children who have regular family dinners eat more nutritious diets, get better grades in school and develop better communication skills.
When Monday is family dinner night, the meal becomes a fun event, ensuring that parents and kids spend quality time together every week, all year round. According to FGI research, kicking the week off with a nutritious meal can help the whole family eat healthier for the rest of the week. You can also use this family time to start the school week with interactive nutrition lessons. As your little chefs squeeze oranges, tell them how vitamin C strengthens their immune systems to fight off colds or how the potatoes they’re mashing first grew underground.
The Kids Cook Monday website has guidelines, recipes and tips that can help even novice cooks organize family dinners. Our weekly recipes are structured with age group suggestions as well as “parent”, “kid’ and “together” cooking tasks.
By sustaining the tradition of family dinners, we are sustaining our health and our relationships with each other. Food activist and author Michael Pollan writes that “shared meals are about much more than fueling bodies; they are uniquely human institutions where our species developed language and this thing we call culture.” Make cooking and eating together your first priority on the first evening of each week. The family that cooks together, connects for a lifetime.
Each Monday, we offer a new, kid-friendly recipe with the steps broken down into tasks for both the parents and the kids.