Share Your Story

In March 2014, York Region Health Services asked residents to share their story about how they have been successful planning, shopping, cooking and eating together. Below you can read the success stories submitted by close to 100 of our York Region residents!

Busy family finds a way: With two kids, activities three evenings a week, a husband that is a shift worker and working full time myself I find that I need to plan ahead in order for us to have meals as a family during the weekdays! Here's what works for us: Read more from Darlene, mother of children ages 9 and 6

A new Canadian's experience: Today when I look back around 4 years in time when my family immigrated to Canada, I notice that things have definitely changed in a good way for me and my family. Since we came from India our food was influenced by the Indian flavors. I served our Indian flat breads, rice and curries for all the meals. Read more from Meghana, mother of children ages 16 and 10

No longer a mystery soup: Our family background is Romanian, and dinner must include soup besides an entree. Kids don't get very excited when they see all kinds of things floating in a bowl, so I tried to get them more involved in cooking the soup. One recipe popular in the Romanian cuisine is a meatball soup with veggies. Read more from Alexandra, mother of children ages 6, 4 1/2 and 2.

A teacher's story: I am currently teaching a Grade 7/8 class and we are learning about eating, from where and how food is grown, all the way to our mouths. Students have integrated geography to learn where our food comes from, trade partners and soil conditions. They integrated math when they figured out how much meals would cost, including adding discounts to the prices. Read more from Alison, elementary school teacher.

Learning to cook simple, healthy meals for university: Our kids have several favourite recipes. Whenever they're asked what they want for dinner, it is always chicken parm, ratatouille, tacos, veggie shish kebabs, or chicken pitas. As part of the deal, the kids get involved with the preparation, Read more from Christine, mother of children ages 17, 12 and 12.

Sushi for two: It is just the two of us most nights and it gets hard to think of new and fun things you can cook with your child and have them fully help you with dinner.  So when my son was about 10 years old we started to do up a menu plan for the week and it would be foods that we both liked and could make together. Read more from Crystal, mother of a 16 year old.

March break cookbook: During march break my nieces and nephew stayed with us. On the first day we wrote up a meal plan for the week with healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options. We looked up new recipes to try and made it fun! Read more from Gloria, aunt of children ages 13 and 12.

Don't underestimate the little ones: I take my 2 year old shopping, he helps me choose produce... should we buy red or yellow peppers?, should we pick peaches or pears?, let's smell the strawberries, and feel the cucumbers, and find the nicest lettuce! He helps decide which flavour sauce, which kind of cookies, and how many apples to take home. Read more from J, parent of children ages 2 and 7 months old.

Tuning into tweens: When I go shopping with the kids I have them pick out one new vegetable or fruit that they haven't tried. This way they get to try different things. At dinner it's a staple that we turn off the television and during dinner we go around the table and say something we are proud of that day. I feel this gives the kids a higher self-esteem. Submitted by Janet, mother of children ages 12, 12 and 8 

Dance your way into the kitchen: As a single mother of 2, ages 8 and 7, it is difficult working full time and having to commute one hour back and forth to work every day. The very thought about cooking when I get home is dreadful. I decided to put the children’s favourite things together to get them in the kitchen. Read more from Jennifer, mother of children 8 and 7.

Taco Tuesday, Wild Wednesday, Throw-back Thursday: We as a family all sit at the dinner table on Sunday mornings and make our grocery shopping list together. My youngest daughter loves to take the lead and have her own list as well that she makes as I'm making mine. We all take turns on planning out our dinners for the week and I value their input as they are ones eating as well and growing big and strong too!!! Read more from Karen, monther of children 8 and 7.

Cooking up some fun!: I recieved your "Cooking up some fun" booklet and decided to try some recipies on my picky eater. To my surprise she loved almost everything I tried from your book. I loved the extra tips that you have written it. Getting my daughter to eat fruit is a huge mission and when we tried the Frozen Yogurt-sicles, she fell in love! Read more from Marcy, mother of a child age 3.

It's not leftovers, it's planning ahead: While a family of two kids may be small, with varied work schedules, school project get-togethers, ringette practices and games, and Girl Guide night, dinner can be a challenge. I find by always cooking more than required for one sitting is not having leftovers, but planning ahead. Spaghetti sauce can be turned into lasagna, or used to stuff peppers, or add a can of kidney beans and chili spices and... voila... chili night. No one is the wiser! Submitted by Sharon, mother of children ages 19 and 13.

Mealtimes are no longer a chore: Getting your kids excited about dinner every night is a challenge, but we found that keeping them involved in every step of the process makes it better! So, every week we start by reading the flyers from the grocery stores - this helps us talk as a family and decide what everyone wants to eat for the week. The children love to help in the kitchen, although Mummy and Daddy do the oven and knife work! Read more from Whitney, mother of children ages 6 and 4.