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It's Kids Cook Monday! Let's Talk about Kids in the Kitchen and Family Dinners

Posted on Nov 28, 2011 by Maggie LaBarbera

It's Kids Cook Monday a great day to cook with your child and take steps towards making family dinner a part of your weekly family time. We came across Kids Cook Monday's article about Making Family Meals a Weekly Ritual on the Blog for Family Dinner website, and want to share with you some reasons why this is an important part of nutrition education and early food experiences that can help kids develop healthy habits.

This post also have some practical suggestions on how a busy family can make Kids Cook Monday and family dinners a fun new ritual. You may alsoo check out our printable kids' cooking nutrition pages and nutrition lesson plans to engage kids in learning about nutrition and healthy cooking.

Why Family Dinners? The Many Benefits of Family Dinner

✰Open communication: One of the benefits of eating meals together is to achieve open communication and build stronger and healthier family relationships. For younger children, having routine family meals can provide a sense of security and a feeling of belonging in the family.

✰Better Academic Performance: According to new research, students who eat with their families three to five times a week are more likely to get better grades in school and much less likely to have substance abuse problems. Family meal is valuable for children. It allows them to have better language skills since they hear adult conversations around the table.

✰Better Nutrition: According to a Harvard study "children who ate family dinners more frequently had more healthy eating habits”, even when they are not at home. They also typically "consume more vegetables, fruit and juice, and less soda."

✰Better Knowledge of Family Culture: In general, family meals reflect the ethnic, cultural, or religious heritage of the family. What the family eats, how they eat, and when they eat is a representation of family’s cultural identity. As children eat together with their family, they begin to learn more about their culture and their family's history.

Tip on How to Plan for Family Dinners

✰Plan your meals ahead of time. Making a weekly meal plan and keeping your pantry and freezer stocked up can save a lot of time. Create a shopping list and make the time to go to the grocery store on a weekend. It will be much easier to make dinner, if you know what you want to make and you have all the ingredients in the house.

✰Crock-pot cooking. If you’re working late, check out some healthy crock pot recipes, or cook a bit more on the weekends and freeze meals in individual portions.

✰Make it simple. A healthy home-made meal doesn’t have to take hours. Grilled chicken and veggies only takes half an hour to make and is an enjoyable meal.

✰Engage kids in meal prep for family dinner. Children are more likely to eat better when they help with meal preparation responsibilities like setting the table or stirring a batter. Most kids enjoy being involved in the cooking process. Admire their efforts!

Being engage in cooking healthy meals at an early age can improve long term cooking skills and encourage a healthier lifestyle. Cooking with kids is a effective way to help children engage in and feel connected to your new family dinner ritual.

"The Blog for Family Dinner Project features blog posts from guest writers that explore the far-reaching benefits of family dinner." Visit for interesting stories from families and practical steps that are working to help us all start to have more family dinners together.

Share your own tips, strategies and experiences with other parents by leaving a comment below!

Cooking with Kids

Why Cook with kids?

  • Kids are much more likely to eat what they make.
  • Meals prepared from scratch usually contain more nutrients
  • Spending time in the kitchen gives them confidence
Kids in the Kitchen - Cooking with Kids Resources

Visit our Kids Cooking Page for fun learning pages to print out:  kitchen and cooking vocabulary, measurement charts, healthy food tips, ingredient substitutions,  food safety tips and a safety contract for kids to sign.

Plus!  Coloring pages, word puzzles,  matching activities and printables for parents and teachers in English and Spanish

Kids Cook Monday share’s more good reasons to get kids involved in cooking

Check out their site for lots of fun new recipes for kids to cook. And you can share your own recipes and photos on their website here!  The 20 page TCKM Tool Kit is a great way to get started!

We support The Kids Cook Monday Campaign and agree that getting children involved in cooking is a great way to boost kids’  ’nutritional know how’, introduces them to explore new foods,  gives them skills, increased confidence, and a way to have fun and enjoy the many benefits of creating and eating healthy foods!

The Kids Cook Monday has a handy widget that shares a new recipe each Monday- click here to get the code for your own website or blog

You may also enjoy:

Play our  Virtual Cooking Game

Build a Meal Game kids learn how to create balanced meals

Broccoli Brad a New Children's Book that promotes healthy food choices, featuring our character Chef Solus!

For Parents we have a Healthy Meal Planner Tool and a Healthy Family Food Habits Guide

Blog post Overcoming Obstacles to Having Kids Eat Healthier Food

Visit our Kids'  Cooking Pages -  cooking vocabulary, food safety, kitchen safety facts, word puzzles, coloring pages and more!

Setting Healthy Goals Tracker Pages- PDFs for kids to track healthy food and daily physical activity

Free Sign up for our nutrition games and a Nourish Healthy Kids our newsletter





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