Hands-on Cook-off

Cooking together touted as one of the key ingredients of a healthy family.

Liam Lucas

Liam Lucas

The family that cooks together could win some money together with a winning cooking video.

The BC-wide Hands-on Cook-off kicked off earlier this month with a powerful goal: to inspire kids to take the lead in the kitchen.

Hélène Dufour, a registered dietitian and community nutritionist in Port Alberni, says the cook-off is a good way to get families to prepare meals together.

” I really support this contest; it goes along with our families eating together campaign we have in February.

“We really believe in promoting eating together, and cooking together fits in with this message,” she said.

“We know kids gain many valuable benefits from cooking and eating together.”

According to studies, cooking and eating together, as a family, is linked to better grades and academic performance in school; improved health and improved mental health, says Dufour.

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“Kids are better connected to their families if they eat together. They have a better understanding of their family values if they eat together.”

The meal doesn’t have to be dinner, it can be any meal, says Dufour. “It doesn’t even have to be at a table. It could be a picnic or in the living room but as long as the TV is off and they turn off their phones.”

The term “family” is flexible as well: a single parent with a child or a grandparent with a grandchild constitutes a family. “As long as it’s a meaningful adult with the child, they get the benefit,” she says.

Studies have found children who eat with their families are less likely to be bullied “which is interesting,” she says. “We think that comes with having conversation and connection and parents are going to be aware earlier.”

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. “They’re random questions,” she says. “We have a set that was just done last month that’s for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Sometimes you don’t think about having conversations with the little ones.

“It helps them build words and conversation and language.”

The contest is open to anyone in B.C. To enter, people need to film themselves making a favourite recipe. Each video must have two or more people cooking together and can’t be longer than three minutes. There are different categories, such as youth and multi-generational.

Deadline to submit your cooking video is 12 p.m. on May 15.

Dufour’s daughter entered a video a couple of years ago and won some money. Dufour said they rehearsed a bit before filming the video.

“Now pretty much everyone has a cellphone they can use to video. You need to show you’re having fun in the video; that would be helpful.”

Hands-On Cook-off was launched by Better Together BC, a family meal forum, and the BC Dairy Association more than six years ago.

For more information, please go online to bettertogetherbc.ca/ contest.

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