Why it's so important to teach children about food (BLOG)
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It's a New Year, an opportunity in being a year with resolutions that will hopefully make us stronger, healthier, and happier! If you can make only one change, do it!
My focus for the New Year is to continue to strengthen my point of view regarding the teaching our children to be healthier because they are OUR FUTURE. It is my desire to teach them to be smarter consumers, to make their own food, along with understanding where their food is produced, etc. It is imperative for them to understand that food fuels their bodies and they need to learn from an early age what to avoid and what to embrace to create a better life filled with the right nutrients in order to think better, run faster, have better behavior and that list of healthiness goes on and on.
Before I was a mom, I felt as though I couldn't speak about this subject. Therefore, I kept my viewpoints to myself while watching parents and thinking, “I won't do this way!” However, today I can say loudly that WE AS PARENTS have contributed to our children’s health problems, but this hasn’t been on purpose. There is a “SICK CHILDREN PANDEMIC," and not only in the US but all around the world. I don't want to scare you with statistics but a very small percentage, from 3-6% is born healthy these days. THIS IS SCARY.
My beliefs were further cemented regarding the seriousness of our children’s health, when my oldest son came from school with an application. He said, “Mom I need help in filling out this application at school, because I can't answer this question": 'What are your allergies?'
Of course, my response was, "You don't have any allergies!"
Thomas refused to accept my answer and responded by saying, “But Mom, everyone writes an answer, what should I do?”
If being sick is the NORM, when allergies are considered normal and not diseases, then I believe we are living in a broken world!
Statistically, we all cook less than we did a few decades ago, and we eat out more often. This is especially true of high school and college age groups, who often don’t have the time, space or skills to cook.
Our grandparents' generation was a time of when almost every meal was cooked at home. Meals out were rare, and most didn’t even depend on the school system to provide lunch. Also, people were thinner and healthier at that time. Of course, there are many factors involved, but experts continually warn that eating out is linked to obesity and other health problems.
All of us have to eat, and most of us eat multiple times a day. Cooking is one of the most useful skills we can teach our children, and it is something that most children enjoy! I spent a few years teaching my kids how to cook and now they are able and willing kitchen helpers!
Time invested in teaching your children how to cook is time well spent. You not only bond with your children but you offer them the opportunity to explore and learn, which in turn promotes their confidence in their abilities. Not only that, but you are actually teaching them math and science skills as well as history for food is universal. Therefore, you can use food to introduce a variety of cultures right in your own kitchen.
A FEW OTHER REASONS TO BRING A CHILD TO THE KITCHEN:
Cooking equals QFT – "Quality Family Time": Providing this bonding time creates an environment where your kids can loosen up and relax. It gives them the opportunity to learn from you and provides them the time to create on their own. Providing this one-on-one time will cause them to open up and share.
Preparing food helps kids appreciate parents: Teaching a child how to cook helps them understand how much time and effort it takes for a parent to make a healthy and tasty meal. Truly, if your kids merely play on their screens or have constant free time, how can they appreciate the work and effort it takes to shop, chop and plate!
Cooking tickles their palates with new delights: Typically, when a child cooks a new food or dish on their own, more than likely they will eat it or at least try it. Trust me, being interactive with food, makes you that much more engaged and heightens your curiosity to discover how it is going to taste. You will be completely surprised at what your children will be willing to cook and taste.
Increase self-confidence: When kids can say, "I made it myself," they feel a sense of accomplishment. When family members say they liked what the child cooked, they get a sense of pride and achievement.
Enhancement in reading comprehension: Cooking is one of the best ways to show kids that reading offers tangible results. It takes comprehension to follow step-by-step instructions and bring a recipe to completion. This shows kids that reading has its advantages!
Grocery shopping improves their knowledge from where food is derived: Part of cooking is shopping. When you cook together, kids learn that pizza doesn't have to come from a restaurant and spaghetti sauce doesn't have to come from a jar. One of the easiest and most enjoyable things to cook with kids is bread. Many kids think bread is a raw ingredient, but just showing them that they can make bread in their own homes is a revelation.
Cooking imparts a basic life skill: When the kids no longer live at home, they are supplied with cooking skills that provide them with ample knowledge of how to properly sustain their bodies! Another bonus for cooking is that preparing meals at home doesn't bust their budget.
In our current American society this is what I am witnessing:
Mealtime has been reduced to a drive through window.
Healthy eating has become way too complicated due to varying opinions on the subject.
What is or isn’t healthy?
Be honest with yourself: Don’t you feel conflicted on all the “healthy eating” viewpoints that surround us on media platforms, in books, at restaurants and in our food stores? There are so many experts with their own opinions and so little time in the day to figure it all out! Does it have to be this complicated? The answer is: NO!
Pure and simple and this initial step, the one you can’t skip, is creating a diet that consists of “real food”. What is real food, you ask? It is the food that is created by God to nourish our bodies and that is eaten as close to its natural form as possible. It is as simple as slicing an apple or peeling an orange. Your healthy diet, which will hopefully become your healthy lifestyle, will be shaped by purchasing and eating items that are fresh and whole foods. In order to make this even easier, shop the outer aisles at your store for this is where you find fresh produce, dairy and meat products too. Keeping it “the real deal” is key.
Here are a few suggestions to get your started on your road to eating real and whole foods:
Step 1: Eat Real Bread – Buy a Grain Mill – It is extremely, if not impossible to find bread that is considered real food! This product has been so altered and most of what you find is processed.
Honesty, without making your own bread and other grain foods, you will not reap any benefits from store bought products unless you have a bakery that is milling their own grains and properly making their bread.
In the wake of the industrial revolution, the way of making bread dramatically changed. It was not a change for the better. When steel rolling mills were invented, they sifted and separated the bran and germ from the wheat. As a result, you had flour that wouldn’t spoil but it certainly spoiled our digestive systems. Therefore, nutrients were put back into the flour and it was considered “enriched” but only 4 out of the 25-30 nutrients were replaced. As time has marched on, we in the U.S., are now the fattest nation in the world and are a world leader in heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Asthma has increased by 200% in the past 10 years and the number of children with type II diabetes is alarming.
For years, I have worked on improving my health by constantly improving my cooking skills and striving to find the best and highest quality of foods to feed family, friends and myself. Embracing milling my own grains, creating my own flour and making homemade bread, I have seen first-hand the benefits of making this particular change to my eating habits. It is now a complete lifestyle change and it is second nature for me to make any bread products.
Step 2: Drink More Water – Most of us have become very concerned about the food we eat but neglect the importance of what we drink. A person can fast from food for as long as 40 days and not die, yet a fast from water for longer than 3 days results in death.
Water makes up a large percentage of our body but most of us do not clearly understand its life-giving role, nor do we drink enough of this precious liquid. Water provides us with nutrients and oxygen into our cells and also is used to flush out toxins. It is imperative to drink enough water in order for our bodies to perform its best and to stay healthy.
Keep in mind that other beverages, though they contain water, are not in any shape or form cleansing beverages. Put down your sodas, fruit juice, teas and coffee pretending that they can achieve what water does for your body, because they can’t! I present you with a morning challenge: Drink water first thing in the morning before drinking any other beverages. I promise you; it will jump start your body.
Step 3: Friendly Bacteria – If you are reading my blogs consistently, then you are well aware of my belief in taking care of your gut and protecting it with good bacteria! This is achieved by feeding your hungry gut with fermented foods. I am talking about eating a little homemade sauerkraut, drinking some kefir milk and introducing other fermented foods in your diet at any meal. There are a number of easy simple ways to incorporate fermented foods in your diet. To jump start your goal in eating more ferments, here are a few of my favorite recipes.
Step 4: Fresh Fruits and Vegetables – Making a conscientious effort to eat more fruits and vegetables will do a lot to improve your bowel health as well as supply your body with much needed vitamins and minerals. Make fruit more convenient than chips and crackers and decide to eat fresh veggies daily.
Step 5: Get Rid of the Junk in your trunk – At some point we have to make the decision to get rid of the junk in our lives. As I have changed my diet to real food, I find that my cravings are almost nonexistent. If you are unsure that what you are eating is junk food, simply read the labels of the products for the food you crave. When you see an ingredient that you can't pronounce or are unsure of what it is, then look up its definition. You will be surprised to learn what you are actually putting into your body (your temple) and hopefully it will scare you a little too but only to make the decision to pick up an apple instead of a bag of chips.
Step 6: Exercise – This is tied to your health in connection with making sure that your body properly functions in order to break down the foods you are eating and eliminating what the body can’t use! This doesn’t have to be complicated either: just take a long walk or find an enjoyable activity. It’s time to get up off the couch and move!
Step 7: Rest – In the teachings of the Bible, the Lord created a day of rest, and we should therefore allow for a day of rest in our lives. Haven’t you heard the phrase “stress will kill you”? Well, do you think someone made up that phrase to be funny? There is so much truth in those words; less stress means less inflammation in the body, so that the body can perform all its functions including eating and processing real whole foods!
The time is now, and you control your time, your goals, and your purpose in life. Make a decision today to change even one thing that will benefit you and your loved ones!
Thank you again for your support and being part of the Innichka Chef family. It is a joy to be of service to you and those you love.