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With every new year come new resolutions; while many of these will be thrown by the wayside come early February, there are a few that are worth sticking to. Cooking as a family has many benefits for parents and children alike, and whether you consult cookery books or the internet, friends or the television; there are plenty of wonderful ways to transform meal time into family time.

Local bookstores are chock full of cookery books that are a great starting point for families looking to turn meal times into more productive family time. With a range of books and material online catering to a variety of diet options, families can shop together to find the book that’s right for them. Including kids in meal preparation, shopping or the actual act of cooking may mean a bit more clean up or slightly longer prep times but ultimately promotes benefits that will result in healthy and responsible children.

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In the short-term, encouraging children to identify and select ingredients that are nutritious as well as tasty can create positive associations with healthy foods. Including ingredients from different food groups can also teach children the importance of a well-rounded and balanced diet that they might not otherwise acknowledge or show any interest in. Some other short term benefits include fostering a sense of accomplishment through contributions to the family and creating a sense of unity and engagement at mealtime resulting from everyone’s help in meal preparation.

But when it comes to long term benefits, there are plenty. Teaching children to cook gives them a skill that they can use for the rest of their lives, while encouraging healthy eating habits at a young age is proven to extend into their adult lives. What’s more, building positive experiences with family in the kitchen can help develop confidence in children.

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While kids are still likely to snack on crisps or ice cream every once in a while, the most important factor is how they eat most of the time, which is where parents come in. Creating a positive and healthy environment in which to teach children about nutrition and cooking means that they are able to understand exactly what it is they are eating and create positive and productive experiences that they will carry with them into their adult lives.