I believe one of the most important things I taught my children was to love and respect food, the people, and the environment that brought the food to our home. We hear so much about spending quality time with our children, well, here is one way to spend quality time with your kids. Kids love to spend time with their parents, and by combining constructive lessons, exercise, and conversation makes this time quality time.

10 Reasons Why You Should Teach Your Children to Cook

1. Builds self-esteem in your child. When you spend one-on-one time with your kids, it shows them that you love, value, and respect them, remembering actions speak louder than words!

2. Teach your children about nutrition and menu planning as well. With 1 out of every three children in the U.S. being overweight, it is up to families to teach our children about nutrition and exercise.

3. Calorie control and portion control. When you prepare meals from home, YOU control the ingredients and how much your child eats.

4. Take your kids to the grocery store and teach them how to shop. Raising my children, we always shopped the perimeter of the store; first, this is where all the healthier foods are located. Start in the produce section, choose products that are bright in colors, add variety to your diet, try a new fruit or vegetable, and show them the food labels on packaged foods.

5. If you teach kids at an early age how to cook, they are more inclined to cook as an adult.

6. Kids are more apt to eat foods that they have prepared.

7. Kids love to show off; let them share with the rest of the family how they prepared the meal. They will feel like they are a major contributor to the family.

8. Make a lesson about how to cook. Go to a farmer’s market and introduce your kids to the farmers who bring the food to the table. Pick your produce; check your local area for farms. Turn your cooking lesson into a math or science experiment, and bring out the measuring cups!

9. Family meals together. Make your meal time family time. Try to sit at the table for at least one meal daily. Enjoy the good conversation.

10. Make it a habit. It’s quality time well spent, and there is no television, video games, or computers to interfere with your time together.

Enjoy your quality family time!