KIDS AND FOOD
Why should we get our kids more involved with their food?
1 in 2 adults are overweight.
382 million people live with diabetes.
83 million people have heart disease.
80% of all chronic disease and premature death is preventable with healthy living.
Clean eating is key. That’s right. It’s time to take back our kitchens and commit to making healthy food choices for ourselves and our families.
Sources: World Health Organization, International Diabetes Federation, Centres for Disease Control.”
I encourage you to research this further as these statistics are not even up-to-date so I imagine these numbers have grown substantially.
Okay, that’s enough with the scary statistics, wouldn’t you say? I’m not here to overwhelm you and make you feel defeated.
I’m here to talk about ways that we can easily add healthy and balanced options to our every day diet. To make it fun and get our kids more involved with their food.
The more we can teach our kids about good food choices while they’re young, the more we can feel confident that they will grow up in a world where these scary statistics will fall by the wayside.
Let’s brainstorm some of the tasks that kids are capable of. Even at a very young age (say, 3-5 years old) they can help out in the kitchen!
If you’re like me, the control freak in you is probably gasping at the thought of your 3 year old making dinner with you! But let me assure you that by getting them involved very early is not only beneficial for them (fine motor skills, mathematics, science and generally keeping them out of trouble!) and it will benefit you in the long run as well.
We don’t give kids enough credit when it comes to making food. Even when it comes to making school lunches, they can help out right from the start! For more ideas on school lunches, check out my post School Lunch Homestretch.
Let’s face it moms, the more help we can get around the house the better! It will reduce your stress (after the initial lesson in patience and the horrible feeling you get when your child accidentally scratches themselves with the paring knife – you know it will happen!), and women (especially working moms I imagine) have the highest risk of heart disease in Canada.
“Heart disease and stroke is the number one killer of women around the world, accounting for more deaths every year than all cancers combined.
Women can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 80 per cent by managing risk factors, which include eating a healthy diet, being physically active, being smoke-free, limiting alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing stress.” – Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation
Okay okay, I promise that’s the last scary statistic – back to brainstorming.
What is your child good at? Does he/she love to draw and create? Maybe you could offer them a separate cookie sheet with some flour or cornstarch on it. While you’re baking let them play with and draw shapes and pictures in it and experiment with different textures.
Get them familiar with the different ingredients you use in your home. Maybe have them try adding water to it to see what happens, or give them some baking soda and a dropper with vinegar to show them different reactions from combining different ingredients. Let them get messy and taste things!
They will learn that something may taste really horrible on its own, but that it’s necessary when mixed with other ingredients to create the right texture and fabulous flavour.
Does your kid like to build or take things apart? Talk to them about combining the right ingredients to create something absolutely different from the few ingredients they have in front of them like bread or cookies. Have them measure, or at least let them pour from the measuring cup/spoon into the bowl.
Let them add water to the soup and choose what veggies to put in. You could even make two pots of soup side by side to show them how the flavour can totally change just by changing a couple of the ingredients.
Let your little builder shape the pizza dough or roll the meatballs. The more they are involved, the prouder and more confident they will be – and maybe, just maybe they’ll try some new things!
What are some ways that you kids help you in the kitchen? Please comment below! I’d love to brainstorm ideas for all different ages.
If you’d like more ideas about cooking with kids, check out my post School Lunch Homestretch.