Did you know that kids learn about food and eating at a very young age? That getting your kids involved in the kitchen can help shape their eating habits for the rest of their lives. Positive experiences about food early on in a child’s life may help them develop healthy eating habits in the future. A recent study found that children who are exposed to cooking through culinary classes or aiding a parent or family member in preparing their meals in their home will be more likely to choose healthier foods not only in your own home, but when they are outside of your home, too. Researchers also found that the children who were involved in meal preparation had a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber and an increased willingness to try new foods.
Need some fun ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen? Try these tips for all ages:
When school is out for the summer it may be more important than ever for kids to get regular physical activity and eat a nutritious diet. According to an article published in the American Journal of Public Health, kids tend to gain three times as much weight during the summer as they do during the school year.
Now that it’s summer you’re probably ready to lather on the sunscreen. But you may also be wondering about news reports that say sunscreen interferes with the body’s ability to make vitamin D, a nutrient you must have to absorb calcium and build strong bones.
How much vitamin D your body makes depends upon your skin color, the time of year, your age and where you live. Just 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure twice a week without sunscreen may be all you need. Some
experts believe even that may be too much, however. Unprotected exposure to sun increases your risk for skin cancer.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you wear sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 15 whenever you’re outside, even on cloudy days. Supplements and food sources can fulfill your vitamin D requirements.
When you buy sunscreen
Buy products that provide broad spectrum protection, meaning they block UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays. UVB rays make skin turn red and cause sunburn. UVA rays are longer, penetrate skin more deeply, and cause wrinkling and other signs of aging. Both can cause skin cancer.
- Devise a healthy snack list with your child. Post on the refrigerator.
- Teach your child to cook.
- Involve your child at the supermarket by assigning a list of nutritious foods to find.
- Start each day with a nutritious breakfast. Not only will your child pay attention at school, breakfast plays a role in healthy weight regulation.
- Encourage your child to play outside whenever feasible. Adults can play too! You’re it!
- On the weekend, live life instead of watching it on TV. Find a new place to hike, bike, cross-country ski or run.
- Find an indoor swim center that you can use all year long.
- Discuss food advertising with your child. Write letters to the advertisers that inundate children’s programming with low-nutrition food and beverages ads.
- Teach your child how to read and understand the information on food labels.
- Be a role model! Show your child how much you enjoy nutritious foods and fun, physical activity.
by Connie Evers, MS, RD
Connie Evers MS, RD, is a specialist in children’s health and nutrition education and the author of “How to Teach Nutrition to Kids”, a book which is used in thousands of schools throughout the world as a framework for nutrition education. She also is author of “Feeding Kids” newsletter.We have obtained permission to reprint this list. If you would like to share or post this list on your site please contact Connie Liakos Evers at firstname.lastname@example.org for details and rates.
From Stacey Seybold Hiller, M.S.,CCC-SLP, Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and Owner, Dream Dinners of Indianapolis, IN.
As parents, one of our most crucial responsibilities is to create independent adults. Too often however, we leave some of the most fundamental teachings until the very last minute. For example, how old should a child be when they start to learn how to do the laundry, or cook a simple meal? Children as young as 8 or 10 years old can learn all the basics needed to cook the family meal. Begin by asking them to help you prepare a meal once a week or so. Let them become familiar with the language and equipment of cooking. Teach them the safety basics. Once they have developed a competency with these skills, have them help you actually plan the meal from the very beginning.
Whether you’ve just popped a Dream Dinners entrée into the oven or spent an hour or more cooking a meal from scratch, you want your family to enjoy their time together while eating.
Yet nothing’s more frustrating than having kids gulp down food in mere minutes, fuss through a meal or otherwise be uncooperative during dinnertime. It can be especially tough with babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Their hunger comes on its own schedule, not often in sync with the family meal. Juggling your own cooking tasks with their demanding needs can turn a daily event from calm to chaotic.