If you want to teach your kids healthy eating habits that will stick with them for life, it’s simple…teach them to cook. Research shows that if kids are involved in the whole process - from picking out the groceries, helping chop and make the meals, they are much more likely to have an appreciation for healthy food and carry these eating habits into adulthood.
Here are six simple steps to start your child's edible education:
1. Take your kids grocery shopping. Pick a recipe and have fun shopping for the ingredients together.
2. Cook together. Choose one night a week when your children can help with the meal prep. Start simple – let little ones peel carrots or potatoes, measure the ingredients or do the mixing. Older ones can be responsible for helping chop vegetables and reading the recipe directions.
3. Make eating an adventure. Introduce your kids to new styles of food or a new recipe. Set the table with candles, eat on the floor picnic-style, or make faces and shapes out of their food such as using meatballs for eyes and pasta for hair. A little effort goes a long way to make meal-time fun and enjoyable.
4. Enjoy dinner together. Research also shows that not only is what you eat important but also how you eat it. Kids who sit down with their family for meal-times are healthier – not to mention you get to spend some quality time together.
5. Take a cooking class together. There are a number of cooking classes out there for your aspiring young chef and taking a class together is not only a good way to learn how to make healthy meals together, it’s also a delicious and nutritious way to spend time with your kids. There are parent/child culinary classes offered at the Calgary Farmers Market and many other locations in Calgary and area. Visit poppyinnovations.ca for more details.
6. Grow your own food. Plant fruits and vegetables in your backyard, or if you don’t have space use planters or participate in a community garden. Children can take pride in watching their plants grow and have fun trying some new foods fresh from the garden.
Article by Sharon McCormick, founder of Poppy Innovations. Empowering individuals and families to be actively involved in producing their own healthy food through gardening and cooking, will pave the way for making healthy food choices.