Cooking and eating together around a fire started at the beginning of human civilisation, when people learned to share, bond and form communities. This still holds so true today and we all understand why getting together for a home cooked meal any day of the week, (and not just a special occasion) makes for a happy home.
Gousto’s in-house nutritionist, Jessica Andersson shares with us her thoughts on why it’s important for families to keep this tradition alive and how it helps children:
- develop conversation skills
- learn good manners
- learn about food and try new ingredients
- get better nutrition
- develop mindfulness
- become an independent and more considerate grown-up
All that from a home-cooked meal? Yes, really!
A little more conversation
These days, we spend less time with other people (even our ‘nearest and dearest’). With screens put away, we can actually engage in civilised conversations, so children learn to talk and listen, and to manage disagreements without the shouty all-caps aggression of the online world.
When we eat together, we’re conscious of how our behaviour affects others. Instinct kicks in: we sit up straighter, chew with our mouths closed, and parents are the perfect role model to teach their children good manners. The world will judge them, so give them a leg up, with no elbows on the table.
“Is cheese a plant?”
Research by the British Nutrition Foundation found that 1/5 of kids aged 5–7 think fish fingers contain chicken, and 29% think cheese is a plant. It’s important to help children get their hands on quality ingredients, like seasonal fruit and vegetables. They’ll also pick up some science, like how vegetables change from crunchy to tender after cooking!
Home cooking can also help your children broaden their palate. Including grown-up ingredients into their diet helps kids out of their comfort go-to-meals of pizza and pasta, into eating more exotic meals of Thai curry and spicy chicken.
Research by gov.uk showed only 7–10% of children got the recommended five-a-day of fruit and veg. Kids are more likely to eat food they’ve helped prepare. Even younger kids can help, by stirring a sauce, adding herbs – or sneaking veggies off the cutting board.
It’s the exact opposite of gobbling fries from the drive-thru, (we’re not judging – we all do it!). When you slow down, breathe, and notice what you’re eating, it’s more satisfying – in every way. Mindful meals also help with portion control. And getting stuck into the cooking gives kids a real, tactile experience as they touch, smell and taste real ingredients.
Cooking together builds collaboration and patience, and cooking for others shows generosity and compassion. These traits could make your child a better roommate or partner in later life. “My daughters decided that they wanted to cook one Gousto meal each and then serve it up to the rest of the family,” says Georgie R. “Once Poppy had finished cooking, she laid the table and handed over each person’s meal. She was so proud.” Learning to cook for themselves helps your child become independent.
Your child will also be a more considerate (and lovable) adult if they’ve learned how to clear up after a meal – without too much moaning!
Let’s get real: eating every meal at the table together isn’t realistic, so make the most of moments shared over delicious homemade meals. And you’ll skip the planning stress (and the supermarket).
Gousto offers a huge range of recipes to choose from and easy to follow recipe cards for all ages. Let the kids help you choose a couple of recipes to try, and ta-dah, home cooked meals loved by everyone! With fresh ingredients delivered to your front door, you can cook and enjoy a tasty meal together any day of the week.
Why not give them a try – Gousto are offering all our members an exclusive 40% off their first 2 boxes – it couldn’t be easier!