There are some lessons that kids don’t get taught at school; as a parent, you will spend a lot of time teaching your children these life lessons. Whether it’s how to do laundry, to where food comes from and how to eat healthily, there are a whole lot of things your kids will be learning from you. And when it comes to food and nutrition, a lot of kids can be unaware of where the food they eat comes from and how to eat healthily. The 5-tips in this article will give you a guide on how to inform your child about the food they should be eating in a fun and engaging way.
1.Help them learn where their food comes from
Whether you keep animals like chickens in the backyard for eggs and meat, or simply make a visit to your local farm, there are plenty of ways in which you can show your children where their food comes from rather than them thinking it simply exists as a packaged product that’s ready to eat. Visits to the farm are not only educational but can also make a fun family day out, and you can show them the variety of creatures that are bred for the meat we eat.
It can even be as simple as going on the weekly food shop and asking your kids where they think the produce comes from or how it grows. This could make for a fun activity while also being educational and helping spark your children’s interest in the great varieties of food available.
2.Get them involved in growing their own food
If you have the space, having herbs, fruit and veg growing in your backyard can be a great and practical way to encourage your kids to understand where food comes from. Not to mention you can get them involved in the process themselves; they can plant, water, nurture and grow their own food and be involved with the harvesting too!
3.Don’t Forget Food Safety and Hygiene
Of course, even food can be dangerous when not prepared properly, so letting your kids know the basics of food hygiene and safety is key. Here are some key things to remember:
Always begin by washing your hands with soap and warm water.
Tie up long hair.
Prepare raw food on clean surfaces, making sure to prepare veg/fruit away from surfaces where raw meat or poultry has been prepped.
Check the expiration date on packaged meats/poultry.
Don’t wash raw meat as this simply spreads nasty bacteria.
4.Teach them easy recipes to cook
From easy homemade pizza to simple pasta dishes, there are plenty of healthy recipes that you can teach your children and get them involved in the creation of. By getting them to help prepare and cook their own food they are learning practical lessons about the food that they are eating whilst hopefully also having some fun.
You can begin by showing them some simple cooking skills from prepping or measuring the ingredients to seasoning and serving. All this so that they can gain a better understanding of what goes into a nutritious meal. But don’t clean up after them! Take the opportunity to teach a little lesson on responsibility. Get them washing the dishes, wiping down surfaces, and be sure that they know how to clean a gas stove once the cooking is over. Visit here for tips on how to clean a gas stove.
5.Teach them why we need to eat (and why we need to eat healthily)
Obviously, we need to eat to live, and teaching your children from a young age about the reality of the damage not eating or eating too much of the wrong thing, may protect them in the future. Making sure they understand the purpose of eating healthy is key, and their first example of this is you, so lead by example and replace a sugary snack with some fresh fruit. Kids can find fruit and veg quite boring compared to candy that comes packaged in bright colours, so why not try appealing to their fun nature by turning plate portions into a smiley face, or using a variety of vegetables to create rainbow meals. After all, scientists encourage that we ‘eat the rainbow’, as all the colours in fresh produce signify different nutrients. What better way to teach your kids about healthy food and how to get the right vitamins and minerals into their diet?!
Hopefully this article will help you start a discussion on where food comes from, how to create simple meals or snacks, and even how to clean a gas stove. Getting them more actively involved and learning about the food that they eat will not only help them to live healthier, but will set them up with key knowledge and skills for life.
-Katherine Mosquera, London