Unlock the Potential of Food Discovery
March is nutrition month and across the country, dietitians are helping Canadians unlock the potential of food by explaining how food not only nourishes, but also fuels active lives, inspires children, helps to heal, prevents chronic diseases and brings people together.
Inspiring children to shop, cook and prepare food can set them up for a lifetime of healthy eating. A recent Ipsos Reid survey found that 38% of parents never or rarely let their children prepare a meal or snack. There are so many ways to involve your kids in meal preparation. Don’t miss the opportunity! Do it with them, here’s how:
- Pick a recipe together: Children need to be a part of the plan from beginning and it helps if it’s something they love to eat.
- Show for groceries together: If you have any kids, sometimes its nice to just take one child at a time so you can focus on teaching them what you look for when selecting foods.
- Incorporate Learning: Build on math, socials, spelling, science and reading skills. Show them the food label, read the ingredients, count the Brussels sprouts.
- Keep it fun. Choose a theme for dinner or pretend you are on a reality TV cooking show.
- Be a role model. Get excited, try new foods, be adventurous.
- Be cool about the mess. It’s all part of learning. You can always clean up after.
The earlier children become familiar with nutritious foods, the less likely they will develop a taste for processed foods.
Picky eaters are more likely to try what they have prepared.
Easy kitchen skills your kids can do:
- 2-3 year olds can tear lettuce, wash vegetables
- 3-4 year olds can peel vegetables, mash potatoes, stir batters
- 4-6 year olds can measure dry ingredients
- 6-8 year olds can make a simple breakfast
- 8-12 year olds can make their own lunches and help plan meals
- teens can follow more complicated recipes and prepare one meal per week