Healthy Habits

The Value of Cooking and Sharing a Meal with Others

Content Provided by the GBS Health & Wellness Team

From the Dietitian’s Desk
With Becca Rick, MS, RD

Consuming a healthful diet rich in a variety of key nutrients supports brain function. The practice of cooking further ramps up these cognitive benefits. The brain boosting advantages of cooking get even sweeter when spent in the company of others and sharing a meal that was created together.

Think about ways to cook and eat with others to reap the benefits from a shared pleasurable experience. Get creative on swapping recipes and photos with others OR invite someone to a virtual meal by walking through a recipe together.

Not quite convinced on the impact that cooking and sharing meals in the company of others can have on mental wellbeing? Check out the advantages below and get cooking!

The Value of Cooking with Others

Creates Bonds. Cooking with family or friends can help strengthen these relationships by encouraging a sense of trust, community, belonging, and closeness.

Supports Self and Group Care. Preparing a meal together can raise self-esteem and confidence for all involved by the development of a new skill and accomplishing a task with a reward.

Provides a Means to Practice Mindfulness. Cooking can offer a therapeutic way to be engaged and focused on the present. This facilitates a healthier lifestyle by improving concentration and reducing stress.

Improves Quality of Life. This social activity has a cumulative effect – it can save money, build a deeper appreciation for the foods that provide energy, and ultimately meet the basic human need of connection with others.

The Benefits of Sharing a Meal

Promotes Healthier Eating Habits. Eating with others can enhance the pleasure that is sought from the eating experience, which may in turn reduce the urge to turn to food for emotional reasons.

Creates a Space for Conversation. Sharing a meal creates the opportunity to connect with others, share in the joys and challenges of the day, practice listening, feel heard, learn something new, and engage in storytelling.

Facilitates a Moment of Daily “Pause.” The shared experience of eating together allows for a natural break and a chance to slow down the fast pace of life.

Boosts Brain Health. Communal eating triggers the release of mood enhancing hormones. It also aids in the release of hormones that improve digestion and absorption of nutrients, forms social skills, and stimulates pleasant feelings.

Supports Healthy Aging. A healthy diet paired with the social connection of “breaking bread together” is linked to promoting longevity and slowing both physical and mental age-related decline.

 

References
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/benefits-of-cooking-for-others_n_5967858ae4b0a0c6f1e67a15
https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/family-building/why-sharing-family-meals-is-so-important-2/#gs.1aew0x
https://brainworldmagazine.com/never-eat-alone-the-benefits-of-eating-with-others/

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