Teaching my own 3 boys about food and nutrition is high on my priority list of life lessons I want to pass on. From planting a garden, harvesting, grocery shopping, meal planning and prep, cooking and sharing meals together – I feel these are important skills I want to pass on to my children.
The interesting thing is that the more you involve children, the more they seem willing to try new foods and in the end make healthier choices. Depending on a child’s age, I’m finding new ways to involve and teach. Here are a few examples from my own family (my sons are 7, 9, 12 years):
- My oldest son loves the new independence of walking to the grocery store, finding ingredients and purchasing them on his own (it helps me too!)
- When I bring my younger sons grocery shopping I encourage them to go pick a fruit or vegetable on their own.
- My older sons cook simple foods like scrambled eggs/omelets, pasta and pancakes
- We plant a garden together each spring
- They often have the task of picking lettuce or other veggies for a supper salad
- We visit a u-pick farm for berries usually once a year (and freeze some)
- All my kids do daily jobs so that may include helping to prepare a meal (grating cheese, peeling/slicing, sautéing, etc.) or doing the dishes
- My older sons bake bread, muffins, and cookies on their own – they now know how to follow directions on a recipe and it’s reinforcing the math measurement lessons at school
- When I hear the dreaded “I’m bored” during the summer, I pull out recipe books and get them to select some new supper recipes (it helps me with meal planning!)
- As much as possible we eat our meals together!