Guest Blog: Why It’s Worth Fitting Family Cooking into Your Back-to-School Schedule, No Matter How Different It Looks these Days
This fall, whether your children are attending school in person, online or anywhere in between, your school day routine is likely to look a little different from years past. Despite these changes, going back to school is still a busy time, meaning that it may be hard to set aside time for cooking and eating healthy meals together.
Although it can be challenging to find the time, it’s worth fitting family cooking and meals into your busy schedule. Research shows that when families cook and eat together, children (and parents!) enjoy numerous benefits. Benefits range from healthier eating to improving academic skills—cooking can reinforce what your children are learning in school, such as skills in math, reading, teamwork and following directions.
While cooking together, you have the opportunity to discuss nutrition and the impact that food choices have on the environment. The more educated children are about food, the more likely they are to choose to eat nutritious foods. Plus, preparing meals and dining together is a great opportunity to spend quality time together as a family!
Monday is a great day to begin this weekly tradition. Why Monday? Monday has a cultural significance as the beginning of the week, which can influence our mood and health outcomes. In simpler terms, if you plan to do something on a Monday, not only are you more likely to do it, you are also more likely to stick to it. Research shows that Monday is the day that people are looking to start new healthy behaviors, such as exercising or meditating to relieve stress. Once you introduce Monday family dinners into your schedule, the good news is that if you prepare a healthy meal together as a family, leftovers can be turned into a tasty lunch the next day. Leftovers can be enjoyed at home in between online classes or packed and brought to school.
With a few easy steps, family dinner leftovers can be repurposed into a new meal, convenient to be quickly reheated at home or for your child to bring to school for lunch.
Try it with this kid-friendly recipe for Black Bean Meatless Balls.