With summer in full swing there is produce a plenty. Next time you need to pick something up from the grocery store or local farmers market ask your kid(s) to come along. Exposing kids to good, wholesome food at an early age not only provides them with the nourishment to grow but it also helps them develop smart eating habits. Even though busy schedules are the norm, choosing healthy options doesn’t have to be hard. Rather, it can be simple and a fun way to get your kid to not only try new produce but to keep them healthy!

Research suggests gettings kids involved in the kitchen may make them more likely to choose healthy foods.  Additionally, kids who eat with their families have healthier eating habits, tend to be at a healthier weight, and do better in school.

Every August the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its foundation celebrate everyone’s role in ensuring a healthy future for our nation’s children. Therefore, ever august is called Kids Eat Right Month which focuses on the importance of healthful eating and active lifestyles.

One of the easy way to help kids choose healthy options is by getting them involved in the cooking process.

How it works:

Together

  • When kids health out in the kitchen, they not only have fun, but also learn cooking skills, food safety basics, try new foods and learn about proper nutrition.  Plus, they can further develop math, reading, science and fine motor skills — all while spending time together as a family.

Techniques

  • The first step to food safety is to wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or sing “Happy Birthday” twice.  It is also important to wash produce and prevent cross-contamination by using different colored cutting boards for vegetables and meat or seafood.

Tasks

  • Kids can help with different cooking tasks depending on their age.  Grade school-aged kids can help gather, measure, and mix ingredients for a recipe.  Older kids can help shred or chop vegetables, cook on the stovetop, and use small appliances and the oven with adult supervision.

Just remember when choosing a recipe with your kid to think of MyPlate.  MyPlate is divided into quadrants that emphasize on all the major food groups.

Here is a breakdown:

  • Make half the plate fruits and vegetables
  • Grains should make up about 1/4 of the food on your child’s plate.  (This includes: Beans, Peas, Potatoes and Corn)
  • Protein should fill about 1/4 of the plate.  Focus on lean-protein sources like chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, beans, and lean meats.
  • Choose low-fat diary products such as yogurt, cheese, and 1% milk to ramp up your child’s calcium intake.

Now get to cooking!

 

References:

eatrightpro.org

MyPlate.org