John’s daughter and 7-year old granddaughter were visiting him from out of state for a long weekend and John asked my recommendations for something he could do with his family. John, age 80, had been my client for the past year. He had heart disease and wasn’t up for anything too taxing.

“How about teaching your granddaughter to cook?” I suggested. John had been an executive chef before he retired years ago. He still enjoyed cooking although he’d slowed down a lot.

“I never thought of that,” he said. “But that would be fun. I would love to pass down some of my favorite recipes too.”

John mostly ate heart-healthy meals, so we took a look on the Internet at some heart-healthy, kid-friendly recipes and found several that John thought his granddaughter would enjoy. “I think she’ll love ‘make your own tacos’ and so will my daughter,” he said. We reviewed the recipe and swapped out lower-fat, lower-calorie bison for beef. Toppings included Greek yogurt, avocado, lettuce, cubed roasted sweet potato, and squash.

“I think I’ll suggest this first and we’ll go from there,” John said. “My daughter can cut up the vegetables and my granddaughter can get the other toppings ready for this recipe. I’m sure I can find other recipes they’ll like too.”

And in fact when I saw John after his visit, he said his daughter and granddaughter had really enjoyed making meals at home with him. “We even made a healthy version of mac and cheese, their favorites,” John said. “We used a recipe that called for low fat cheeses and sour cream. Not that I would eat this every day, but she really enjoyed it. For dessert, we made a simple fruit salad. I taught my granddaughter how to make other simple meals too, and she’s really proud of herself knowing that she can help her mom get dinner on the table!”

Cooking can be a great family bonding activity that spans the generations. Finding free, online family-friendly recipes is a breeze. And even young children can be taught how to measure and pour ingredients, stir, and help clean up the dishes later. Cooking together can also reinforce the message that healthy eating is appropriate for all ages. While nutritional needs vary with age, we can all benefit from eating a healthy diet and trying a variety of foods.

If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 877-337-0922 or email us at We’ll be happy to assist!