We talk a lot about eating well and wanting to cook but so often this does not happen consistently, we are all busy. This week as I start to bring my New Year, New You series to a close I ask you to think why you cook or why you want to cook more and what food really means to you. I know it’s a getting a touch deep but really even if you are buying all the best food and fining the quickest easiest recipes only gets you part of the benefits. You have to share the meal, eating in community.
You see I write this because so many people come to me struggling to eat well wanting to find solutions to get quality meals on their tables but they often suffer from being over-scheduled and stressed trying to “fit it all in”. This creates anxiety in all areas of life, affects mental focus, physical health of our bodies and emotional health of our relationships. We want to feel better, and for our families to be happy and healthy and you can create that all though food. Sadly it seems, we are all generally too “busy”. Americans today see cooking as more of a chore something that we don’t have the luxury of time to do.
I am so deeply passionate about food bringing friends and family together around it because it is not only good to nourish our bodies. We also gain so many benefits from cooking and sharing a meal with others. If we take the time and make a commitment to honor food and cooking the way we honor other tasks we all might just be a little happier, healthier and better off long term. It is not just about eating food – it’s about creating and sharing a meal together. This is where you get the most benefits from cooking.
Here are just a few of the benefits you receive when cooking and eating together:
- Developing cooking skills makes mealtime easier for everyone.
- Kids are more likely to eat what they help prepare.
- Save money: meals purchased away from home cost two to four times more than meals prepared at home.
- Consume fewer calories.
- Create a sense of belonging. In a Columbia University study 71% of teenagers said they consider talking, catching-up, and spending time with family members as the best part of family dinners.
- Eat more vegetables and choose healthier options.
- Eventually as kids are older they can help cook full parts of a meal getting it on the table faster.
- Less likely to be overweight.
- Consume less sweets and stay fuller longer.
- Kids do better at school. Teens who eat dinner four or more times with parents have higher academic performance than those who eat dinner two or less times per week.
- Boost self-esteem.
- Create strong relationship bonds.
- Boost communication skills.
- Create a sense of self-worth and a necessary skill of being self- sufficient.
- Develop social skills.
- Expand knowledge of food, and the world around us.
- Improved mental health.
- Overall happier and less stressed
You see we all say we want change but the question is, are you willing to make the commitment to change? The opportunity is right in front of us. It can be achieved. Perhaps seeing eating together not as another appointment on a busy schedule, but rather as an opportunity to de-stress, a chance to catch up with those whom we love then, could help our children do better at school, be less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, get everyone in better shape, and be happier, less stressed individuals. I think we could all benefit from more home cooked meals.
If you need help with practical cooking solutions for busy days let me know. I am here for you. Stay in touch for next week for tips on how to get the entire family involved in creating family meals.
Did you miss an earlier post?
Here are the earlier New Year, New You Topics: