I’m so excited to be part of this year’s Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month Campaign. We are celebrating Nutrition Month 2018 by helping Canadians unlock the potential of food to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and bring us together.
Along with my fellow dietitian colleagues, I will help illustrate that food has the potential to:
- Fuel: Stay energized by planning nutritious snacks into your day.
- Discover: Foster healthy eating habits in children by teaching them to shop and cook.
- Prevent: Understand how food can help prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- Heal: Learn how food can promote healing and how dietitians work in health care teams to make a difference.
- Bring us together: Enjoy the benefits of bringing families and friends together with food.
As you know, in my practice I work with people living with diabetes and people who want to manage their weight through a non-diet approach, but there are so many dietitians who work in other diverse areas of nutrition too! Did you know that you can find dietitians working in many places, including hospitals, grocery stores, community health centres, universities, rehabilitation facilities, seniors’ residences and long-term care settings?
We all have one thing in common: We love food – it unites us all! Whether we are counselling a patient recovering from a heart attack, teaching a cooking class or taking students through a tour of a grocery store, we are all passionate about the potential of food and its connection to health. You will learn so much this month about the amazing potential of food!
To make Nutrition Month come alive, I’m going to be focusing on food has the potential to discover for all you momma’s out there wondering how to get your kids more vegetables or help in the kitchen!
FIVE TIPS FOR COOKING WITH KIDS
It’s fun and rewarding to involve kids in meal preparation – whether it’s at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here are five tips for getting your kids involved:
- Pick a recipe together: Children need to be part of the plan from the beginning, and it helps if they prepare something that they love to eat. Shop for groceries together too!
- Incorporate learning: Build on lessons they learn in school, such as math, social studies, media literacy, spelling, science and reading. Younger children can practice fine motor skills.
- Keep it fun! Imaginative play helps children get deeply involved. Make a theme night or turn your kitchen into a restaurant or reality cooking show.
- Be a role model: If you’re excited, they will be too. Try a new food, describe the flavour and be adventurous to inspire your eaters to do the same. Get other members of the family involved.
- Be cool about the mess: Spills and accidental messes happen, and it’s important to remain calm about little mishaps. Keep kitchen towels handy for cleaning up spills.
Kids are much more likely to eat what they make, so cooking at home is a great tip if you have picky eaters. It’s fun for them to eat their art creation! Cooking with kids helps reduce mealtime battles and boost their willingness to try new foods. It’s great for their self-confidence too.
IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Do you want to inspire your kids with food? Here are three ways to get started:
- Head to your nearest grocery store or farmer’s market and taste something new.
- Call your local public health department or boys & girls club to see if they offer cooking programs for children.
- Check the children’s programming at the local supermarket. Many offer grocery store tours, food demos and cooking classes for children.
WHAT CAN MY CHILD DO?
Here’s a guideline of kitchen skills based on age:
- 2-3 year olds can wash vegetables and fruit or tear lettuce and salad greens
- 3-4 year olds can mash potatoes and bananas or mix together batters
- 4-6 year olds can measure dry and liquid ingredients or set the table
- 6-8 year olds can toss salad ingredients together or make a simple breakfast
- 8-12 year olds can make their own school lunch or help to plan meals
- Teens can follow more complicated recipes or assemble and mix most ingredients. They can also be in charge of making one meal per week.
Try this Spiced Chia Seed Pudding at home with your kids!
Adapted from the Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2018.ca.