Content provided by: Tiffani Ghere, Clinical Pediatric Dietitian

Most of our early memories revolve around food. We remember the special holiday meals we shared with our families, a special dish that we loved, certain delicacies served which brought us delight. Those far away from us, long for a home-cooked meal, and we treasure the recipes we hand down from one generation to the next, communicating, through food, a love of family that transcends time.

Whether you love making meals or simply don't want to go out to eat, cooking at home has wonderful advantages. There are so many options! From eating fresh, raw produce to preparing a fine dining experience, it's your call. Whatever you're craving: you can make it. And ... you even save time and money by making extra servings and freezing them for later. What's more, meals tend to be more balanced when prepared at home. With more balanced meals, we see an increase in variety of foods eaten, as well as better weight control. When you know for yourself, what goes into your food, there are fewer added sugars and bad fats like hydrogenated oils. 

Maybe the most important benefit of home cooking is that it brings families together. Sitting down as a family gives them a chance to share their days with one another. Children get to practice their manners and can try new foods in a familiar environment. They can help prepare the meal and set and clear the table - at almost any age. The following pages are designed to help you enjoy many family meals together and create the tradition of home-cooked meals.