From the May post on ‘Hunger hurts in more ways than one’, we talked about the many ways that food connects us.
This month, we take a look at the healthy habits that children create by choosing, preparing and eating meals together.
When children are involved in choosing the foods they want to eat, there are many opportunities to educate them about eating a variety of foods with different tastes, colours and textures. Parents can encourage them to try new foods and look up recipes to make with this new food. It can be as easy as picking raisins and adding them to a banana boat (centre out the middle of a banana and add filling) with peanut butter and raisins.
Children can develop cooking skills as they help prepare meals. It’s never too early to start teaching these skills either. Children as young as 2 years old can help in the kitchen.
Family traditions and recipes are often passed down from generation to generation in the kitchen as well, providing children with a feeling of belonging and confidence.
We know eating as a family is important, even if it’s breakfast or lunch! Discussion at meals can be a time to debrief on current events and everyone’s day or week. For some families this will include good debates and differences of opinions, which children can learn communication skills from.
Children also learn manners at the table. Think of asking family members to pass the pepper or thanking them for a great meal.
A friend of mine was recently talking about her childhood. She was brought up in a single parent household with two other siblings. Her favourite time with her mom was when they cooked together. “It was the only time that my mom was able to spend time doing something with just me. We would talk about everything while chopping, mixing and cooking.” She enjoyed cooking so much that she went on to become a chef.
An I Can for Kids food pack recipient detailed how the items helped them come together as a family to make healthy meals together. “The items in the food packages have provided my children with the opportunity to engage in making healthy and hearty meals, which provide them with positive energy. Also, the meal making has brought out my children’s creative side in making meals that are nutritious and interesting.”
Childhood Hunger can impact the skills that children learn while choosing, preparing and eating a meal together. I Can for Kids is on a mission to End Summer Childhood Hunger. You can help a child and family by donating today!