Updated: Apr 14
What if we could get our children to ask for vegetables, instead of telling, bribing and pestering our children to eat them?
This feat is more attainable than one might think. By enrolling children in healthy cooking classes, we show them how to make health-conscious decisions, and educate them about the benefits of healthy eating. With any activity in life, turning a practice into a habit simply takes time and effort.
Recently, government legislation has been proposed to lessen the healthier standards set for school lunches. Instead of serving fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, this legislation seeks to allow more meat, pizza, and other unhealthy choices. Because of this, many concerned parents are wondering how to keep their children away from making poor choices at lunch. We believe the solution to this problem is healthy cooking classes for kids.
What's a parent to do?
Let’s face it – not every parent has time to pack their child a beautifully crafted lunch every day. Additionally, many children prefer hot meals to colder, packed lunches. Parents don’t need to shelter kids completely from these school lunches, but rather teach them how to select the healthiest options, and why it is important to do so. According to vittana.org, “the two most common items that can be found on the school lunch menu are cheese pizza and fried foods” (Regoli). When faced with an abundance of food, we need to motivate children to choose the salad over the pizza, and the apple over the French fries.
Healthy can be tasty and fun!
Showing children that healthy food can be tasty is the first step in getting them to crave fruits and vegetables daily. Cooking classes teach children basic, healthy cooking skills in a way that is fun and interactive. Children learn how to cook hearty and healthy meals, and begin to open their minds to trying different, healthier foods. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, researchers offered pre-school students a food to try and used nutrition-specific phrases to describe the food. “Results showed the repeated exposure and the child-centered nutrition phrases in addition to repeated exposure only increased these preschoolers’ willingness to try, preference, and consumption of the study food” (Elsevier 2019). This study proves that beginning a dialogue with children about the benefits of proper nutrition makes them more receptive to try and consistently consume certain foods.
The role of proper nutrition
Proper nutrition is critical in the development of a child’s physical and mental growth. Poor eating habits can cause health problems and can stunt their educational progress. Publicschoolreview.com reports that, “meals in cafeterias for kids often include white and refined breads, fried foods, sugary sweets, and sodas; all of these meal options cause an incredible drop in energy, leading to a terrible drop in energy, focus, and successful mental performance” (Chen, 2018).
Learn a skill for life
Developing healthy cooking and eating habits is a lifelong skill that can travel through multiple stages of life. As one’s kids grow up and move out of the house, having a desire to eat healthy will come in handy. College dining halls are essentially a buffet of starches and desserts. A teen is better prepared to make better meal choices when raised with the habit of resisting harmful foods. Plus, if those kids decide to have kids, it’s a habit they can pass down for generations!
Kids can try out our cooking classes at our healthy summer camps! Each day children have the opportunity to create two delicious recipes, a chance to get outdoors in the fresh air and burn off some energy, and create a craft and/or participate in an educational activity that corresponds with the lesson of the day. We offer the best of nutrition, fitness and fun all rolled into one awesome class!
Check out the summer camps and more at https://www.vege-cooking.com/register
Chen, Grace. “How Diet and Nutrition Impact a Child's Learning Ability.” Public School Review, 24 Dec. 2018, www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/how- diet-and-nutrition-impact-a-childs-learning-ability.
Regoli, Natalie. “27 Unhealthy School Lunches Statistics.” Vittana.org, vittana.org/27-unhealthy-school-lunches-statistics.
Unknown. “Teaching Children to Eat Healthy: Repetition Is the Key.” Elsevier, 8 May 2019, www.elsevier.com/about/press-releases/research-and- journals/teaching-children-to-eat-healthy-repetition-is-the-key.
Written by the fabulously talented Grace Chesko