This article is all about getting both parents and kids comfortable in the kitchen, eating healthy and learning important lessons along the way.
From the outset, as kids we are breast or bottle fed up until the airplane crashes into our mouth full of mushed veggies and vitamin-rich foods, getting home from sports training to a plate full of foods that will help us become big and strong.
And then we are being pushed off to the world…
What’s the common theme?
Everything you do as a parent is having a direct reflection on your kids, they are relying on your guidance and begging for the right choices. For the correct family nutrition, the right steps to movement and building family connection.
It’s no surprise that when our kids are eventually pushed off into the big world that many resort to 2-minute noodles and cans of baked beans.
One could say that it’s a financial-based decision for a struggling student, but I think that truly misses the point. Because the second that they aren’t prepared, most students will spend their money on a faster food option (something from the local shop/restaurant) that ultimately negates their previous ‘financial-based decision’.
You see, we think that snacking on these very cheap meals that are high in calories and low in nutrients are going to be saving us money…
…but in actual fact it is depleting us of our wealth.
Both financial and physical wealth.
With the correct knowledge and understanding of good food choices and adequate planning, you can save a lot of money and increase your ‘health wealth’ by preparing meals in advance and choosing foods that are going to provide the most value. This could be in terms of foods that provide fullness and enjoyment.
I’m not here to point the finger to say what you’re doing now is bad, but how much time do you physically dedicate to spending more time on actually teaching them the skills and the knowledge about food?
How much time do you spend on yourself learning how to create new meals and develop more skills?
It doesn’t have to be learning the latest way to create Apple Cider Vinegar and design a meal that is Michelin Star material…
…but being able to take 5-10 simple ingredients and create something that is relatively healthy and tastes….edible.
Here are 3 ways that you can get eat better and build knowledge for the future;
Dedicate 30 minutes
This week to going through one meal with your kids and getting them to choose ingredients to go with it.
Start by getting them to choose the protein e.g. fish, eggs, chicken, beef, tofu or even beans.
Next, get them to pick some vegetables to go with it, even if it doesn’t make sense (you could learn from this later).
Now it’s your turn to choose the carbohydrates e.g. pasta, rice, potato etc. and the sauce.
This is therefore going to get them interested in the food that they will be eating and also provides removes some of the barriers to creating a good dish. They are giving you the nutrient density in the dish (the total quantity of vitamins and minerals) and also the protein source.
Now it’s your job not to over-do it with the rest of the calories in the dish.
Let your kids help you cook
You don’t have to let them take control of the pan or use the big knife to slice through the carrots. But letting your kids physically put the food into the pot or adding in some oregano is a way to get them involved.
They smell the spices, feel and taste the textures and learn to recognise the food.
Simple 5-minute steps like this once per week is going to add up to hours and hours in the kitchen before, they are stuck in a share house of 6 people when they are older.
Let your kids pick the food from the shelf
Being in a shopping centre (particularly a busy one) can be a stressful occasion.
It’s important to ensure that for your sake, you keep this option short and sweet.
You don’t have to pass off your sticky note with everything labelled in short hand and scribble and send them on their way while you grab a coffee.
All you need to do is just focus on the fresh food section.
Grabbing handfuls of food from the shelf all helps with portioning and learning which vegetables and fruits are located.
This is all come into plan when I release to you my food portion guide.
As you can see from the steps, I’ve laid out above, they aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel and they aren’t going to actually get you spending hours stressing away while you’ve already got so much on your plate (pun intended).
Regular, 5 minute actions are all you need to build momentum and start building the foundations for what can be life-changing knowledge and skills.