Set Your Kids Up For Cooking Success

Gone are the days where all families eat at the dinner table, children grow up cooking alongside their parents and one generation shares family recipes with the next. Life seems to be more hectic than ever and kids don't often get the chance to develop good cooking habits, which affects their health in the long run. And for some, bad eating results in obesity and other poor health conditions. At an early age, kids need to learn basic healthy cooking techniques, and experts suggest it's well worth the effort! Among the recommendations in a recent American Heart Association report on overweight problems in children and teens were: * Reducing the number of meals eaten outside the home. * Having structured times for family meals. * Offering healthier, low-calorie foods. * Involving children in meal planning, shopping, and food preparation. Cooking with children has both short-term and long-term payoffs: * It encourages kids to try healthy foods. * Kids feel like they are accomplishing something and contributing to the family. * Kids are more likely to sit down to a family meal when they helped prepare it. * Parents get to spend quality time with their kids. * Kids aren't spending time in front of the TV or computer while they're cooking. * Kids generally aren't eating junk food when they're cooking a meal at home. * Learning to cook is a skill your children can use for the rest of their lives. * Kids who learn to eat well may be more likely to eat healthfully as adults. * Positive cooking experiences can help build self-confidence. * Kids who cook with their parents may even be less likely to abuse drugs. * Eating properly can help improve memory and test grades. What's healthy eating for kids? Eating more fruits and vegetables, having whole grains and beans when possible, and choosing leaner types of animal foods (sneak some fish in now and then.) So get them in the kitchen! Have them help prepare meals, measure ingredients, peel veggies, or hand mix. Involving them with the food they eat will have long-lasting health benefits.

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About The Author, Chester Ku-lea