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In primitive times, food acquisition was a group effort and food was shared amongst the village. There’s something special about sharing food with others – it’s very bonding and even educational, teaching children about cooperation and fairness.

An interesting study of 466 Belgian students found that those who had shared meals more frequently in childhood scored better for altruistic behaviours, particularly giving directions to strangers, offering their seats on public transportation, helping their friends move and volunteering. These are all wonderful traits to instill in your kids at an early age.

I believe our Western individualised societies can benefit from sharing food now more than ever, especially as most foods are targeted to ‘individual portions’. In many parts of the world, sharing food with family and friends is a way of life and these cultures are known to have very positive relationships with food (less issues with food fussiness and even eating disorders).

Buffet-style meals at home, where the food is served on the table and everyone helps themselves are a great place to start. But sharing food, especially in peer groups is also really exciting and a great learning experience for kids. So next time you’re asked to ‘bring a plate’ perhaps consider the value of such a simple concept and instead of grabbing a pack of biscuits or chips on the way to school or the event (as tempting as that is), consider using the occasion as an opportunity to involve your kids in the making and taking.

So today I thought I’d share a few ideas for when you’re next asked to ‘bring a plate.’ Remember to make sure you get the kids to help – they always love taking something they’ve made or contributed to.

BRING A PLATE IDEAS

1. Make a dip. There are so many quick and easy to make dips. Serve with vegetable sticks and crackers. Even if your kids don’t make the dip, get them to arrange it all on a plate.

2. Bake something. What kid doesn’t like baking and eating the result (and licking the bowl of course!)

3. Make meatballs or sausage rolls. Hot or cold they are always a hit with a crowd.

4. Fruit platters and fruit kebabs. Easy done.

5. Make sushi rolls or rice paper rolls.

From a very young age, children love to play food games – they make mud pies, have tea parties and mimic the rituals of adults. Our role as parents is to ensure that a love of real food, and sharing and celebrating with food, is nurtured and supported. The fondest memories are made when gathered around the table.

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Well Nourished

Well Nourished  

Founded by Georgia, a mum, cookbook author, naturopath with 19 years experience and the creator of The Well Nourished Lunch Box Challenge, Well Nourished delivers wholesome, easy-to-follow recipes targeted to busy families. Readers flock to Well Nourished for inspiring health advice and free, nourishing, family friendly recipes. // www.wellnourished.com.au