Celebrate Family Day by Cooking Together
By Madalina Hubert
It’s Family Day in Canada on February 17, a uniquely Canadian holiday dedicated to spending time with loved ones and creating beautiful memories together. A great way to do this is by sharing meals together. Even better, how about cooking together with the children?
Children feel empowered because they are contributing to an important family task. They also learn valuable life skills, while spending quality time with their parents and siblings (if there are).
At the same time, parents learn to better communicate with their children and work together as a team. Everyone benefits.
It is a good idea to involve children in the entire cooking process so that they can fully benefit from the activity.
This starts with the preparatory steps: choosing recipes, preparing a shopping list, and going to the grocery store together.
Then comes the cooking activity, and of course the cleaning.
Being involved in the whole process teaches children responsibility and self-reliance. By exploring different recipes, ingredients, and preparation methods, they can also become more open to trying new foods and ingredients.
Family Day Foods You Can Cook Together
As long as parents can properly plan out the steps, and arrange age-appropriate tasks, children can help prepare most recipes.
One fun option is pizza. Children can enjoy making the dough, putting on the tomato sauce, grating the cheese, selecting different toppings, and arranging them in creative ways.
Here are some uniquely Canadian Family Day food ideas you could try:
Pancakes with maple syrup, eggs, scones
Borscht, quiches, meatloaf
Apple cupcakes, maple cookies, butter tarts, peanut butter and jelly cookies Nanaimo bars
See recipes here.
Parents can also take the opportunity to introduce children to their own culinary traditions by passing on family recipes.
At the same time, they can expand their repertoire by exploring other cultural dishes.
4 Healthy Tips for Your Family Day Celebration
By cooking together as a family, children can also learn about healthy eating.
As they select ingredients and recipes, parents can teach the young ones about the importance of a balanced meal.
1. Pay Attention to Colours and Flavours
One fun way is by pointing out the different colours and flavours of the dishes you make on Family Day.
According to Chinese dietary theory, having a variety of colours and flavours harmonizes the body and reduces food cravings.
This is because each flavour (sour, bitter, sweet, pungent or spicy, and salty), and colour (green, red, yellow, white, and black), corresponds to different organs. By balancing them, the whole body is satisfied. Read more about the five food flavours here.
2. How Did That Make You Feel?
Parents can also teach children to pay attention to the effect food has on their bodies.
Do they feel energetic or tired after eating a meal? Do they feel satisfied, or do they come back for a snack after leaving the table?
3. Fresh Food vs. Processed Food
By learning to cook meals from scratch on Family Day and beyond, children also understand how to choose good quality ingredients.
This way, they are better prepared to avoid processed foods, as well as fatty, salty, and sugary foods that harm the body.
They also learn to be more conscious eaters, and this helps them establish healthy eating habits throughout their lives.
4. Create Beautiful Memories Together on Family Day
Cooking as a family is not only fun for the young ones, but also a chance for parents to learn to appreciate their children’s unique abilities and creativity, to spend valuable quality time together, and create beautiful memories.
This is a tradition that can start on Family Day, and continue throughout the year!
Madalina Hubert is a Toronto-based writer specializing in art, culture, travel, and culinary explorations.