Hélène Dufour, a registered dietitian and community nutritionist in Port Alberni, says cooking and eating together as a family has many benefits for children. KARLY BLATS PHOTO

The family that cooks together could win money together

B.C.-wide contest looks for three minute videos of families cooking together

The B.C.-wide Hands-on Cook-off contest has again kicked off to encourage eating and cooking together as a family.

From now until May 18 any B.C. resident can enter the contest by filming a video, up to three minutes, of two or more people preparing a recipe together. Several cash prizes of $1,000 and $500 will be awarded in different categories to individuals and schools.

The Hands-on Cook-off contest was inspired by research that shows that when families cook and eat together, kids gain many valuable benefits—including better grades in school, better physical and mental health, and better overall social adaptability.

“[Contest organizers] are looking at two generations or more or two youths together to do a video and show how they’re having fun cooking,” said Hélène Dufour, a registered dietitian and community nutritionist in Port Alberni. “It is to promote cooking together but also the whole link to eating together which is helpful in terms of many benefits for life.”

The benefits of eating as a family, Dufour says, include kids being more likely to have better social skills, better grades, less likely to have depression, less likely to use drugs and alcohol as teens and have better quality friends and social skills.

The term “family” is flexible as well: a single parent with a child or a grandparent with a grandchild constitutes a family.

Contestants can cook whatever they want as long as they’re not alone.

A new component this year, is the Instagram aspect, where participants can put together shorter videos (one minute or under) for a chance to win a $250 Amazon gift card.

“Judges look for creativity, clarity and interactions,” Dufour said.

For families that want some guidance on what to talk about during a meal, the Better Together website (bettertogetherbc.ca) offers a learning link with downloadable conversation cards.

Enter the Hands-on Cook-off contest at bettertogetherbc.ca.