Make 2018 a great year by getting the entire family to feed off your New Year’s Resolution.
Now that 2018 is upon us, many reflect on the past year and look ahead to make the next one even better. Often times we set new rules for the family as a whole and for ourselves. We look for ways to shed extra “holiday” pounds, save money, minimize TV time for the kids or enjoy a special hobby more often.
The year starts with a bang! Our focus and dedication is at its peak. The kids are on board to try something new. And, we’re really excited to make a change for the better. But, as the weeks and months stack up, we find ourselves resorting to old routines. Well, not this year, right?
Part of the reason so many New Year’s Resolutions fail is that they’re often too vague. Our goals are ideal-based but don’t take on actionable to-dos. Or, we haven’t thought past the first activity that leads us down the path of turning a resolution into an ongoing lifestyle change.
Here are 7 popular New Year’s Resolutions:
- Eat healthier.
- Read more.
- Spend more time as a family.
- Learn a new skill (or do more of something you already enjoy).
- Teach the kids to be more self-sufficient.
- Save more money.
- Spend less time in front of the TV.
Each of these ideals could go a long way to improving your family’s overall wellbeing. But, you need a good plan to keep the momentum going.
Here’s 1 easy way to keep them all:
Meal plan and cook with your kids.
Meal planning and cooking with your kids is a great way to strengthen family bonds, share responsibility and raise healthy children. Plus, it’s new and exciting every time you do it. As parents, isn’t this really what we we’re shooting for?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice in the kitchen who struggles making minute rice or a social foodie who experiments with eccentric flavors to woo guests. The act of planning your meals for the week, focusing your trips to the grocery store and getting the entire family involved in meal preparation will keep everyone happy around the dinner table. Or, at least you’ll be able to laugh together when it doesn’t turn out the way you expected.
So, how does meal planning and cooking with your kids help you eat healthier?
When you cook at home versus eating out, you control the ingredients. You control the portions. And, you control the variety. When you’re at the grocery store, look for the ingredients that are in season and build your meals around what’s fresh.
How does meal planning and cooking with your kids help you read more?
Researching and discovering new foods, recipes and flavor combinations is one of the most exciting parts of cooking at home with the family. Look through food magazines together, flip through old cookbooks and set up a family Pinterest page. Before too long, you’ll start exploring where different types of foods come from, you’ll learn their cultural importance, and ultimately, you’ll get more than a great tasting meal; you’ll give yourself an authentic culinary history lesson.
How does meal planning and cooking with your kids allow you to spend more time as a family?
It’s important to set up roles and responsibilities for every member of the family. Whether your kids are two-years old or 20-years old, it’s easy to get them involved (Just be sure your toddler stays away from sharp objects and hot stovetops). When you’re all in the kitchen working towards a common goal, everyone is vested in the success or failure of the meal. Not only is it great bonding time, it can turn an average Tuesday night into one of those family stories that’s recounted over and over again.
How does meal planning and cooking with your kids allow you to learn a new skill or spend more time doing what you love to do?
Whether you’re a seasoned home chef or a beginner, the best part of cooking with your kids is that you have to break down the meal preparation into simple tasks. Measuring, mixing, chopping, scooping and pouring are the same techniques for three-year olds as they are for 30-year olds. So, start slow. Watch a YouTube video or two, and just go for it. The more confident you get the more complex your recipes will get. Before you know it, you’ll be asking for choppers, presses and muffin pans for your birthday.
How does meal planning and cooking with your kids teach them to be more self-sufficient?
Grocery shopping and meal preparation are both life skills that your kids can and will rely on long into their adult lives. It develops problem-solving skills and gives them a sense of accomplishment. When you make a grocery list, you’re developing important organizational skills. And, when your child is involved in colleting the items on the list in the store, they are learning to make comparative decisions. Cooking, providing for oneself and others in the family, instills pride at a young age giving them confidence they can rely on.
How does meal planning and cooking with your kids save more money?
It’s no secret that eating out can really rack up costs. For a family that eats out two or three times a week, with an average cost of $25 for a family of four at a fast food restaurant, you’re looking at thousands of dollars a year spent eating on the run. When you plan your meals, even quick fix, modest meals for families on the go, there’s less waste. You stock up on what you need, and you use the items you buy before they go bad. Fresh fruits and vegetables locally sourced and purchased at your Farmer’s Market or grocery store are not only more nourishing, cent-for-cent they’re more cost efficient than pre-made or boxed, microwave meals. This means you’re filling up on sustenance over volume.
How does meal planning and cooking with your kids help you spend less time in front of the TV?
This answer may seem pretty obvious (unless you have a TV in your kitchen). When your family is actively engaged in getting dinner ready, there’s no time for doing nothing. Today, Americans spend more time watching cooking shows than actually cooking in their own kitchens. It’s time to take our kitchens back. There’s often self-induced pressure to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible. But, when the act of cooking becomes your entertainment for the evening and dinner the reward, you’ll discover that it’s ok to drag it out for a bit. Besides, this is important family time together. The kids won’t think about what they’re missing on TV because they’ll be too busy keeping up with you in the kitchen.
Now is the time to get started! The New Year is here. With a focused resolution like meal planning and cooking with your kids, even if it’s only one or two nights a week, you’ll see a number of family-building benefits brought to a boil. It’ll be as if you’re keeping seven New Year’s Resolutions for the price of one. And, that’s something you can feel good about.
Cooking is a taste adventure for the entire family to experience. If you’re worried that your children are too young to get involved or that maybe next year would be more appropriate to get started, don’t! It’s never too early to get kids involved in the kitchen and establish healthier life habits. Make 2017 the year you turn food into family time.
Larry Puzniak is a new father with two boys under four. He’s a self-proclaimed food nut, co-creator and Word Chef of Kitchen Club Kids® recipe-adventure storybooks. His passion for health and nutrition is only outshined by his love for family. He believes in the importance of establishing the basic themes of cooking, food appreciation and healthy eating at the same time we teach our children basic skills like counting, colors and object identification. Kitchen Club Kids® was created promote healthy eating habits, fundamental learning opportunities and recipe building skills in children ages 2 -6. An award-winning series, each story introduces a rhymey-good-timey tale and a real, step-by-step recipe that can be prepared in the kitchen by cooks of any caliber. Find out more at www.kitchenclubkids.com.