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Most parents want to arm their kids with as many skills as they can – and food skills are towards the top of the list if they are concerned about their well-being. Whether it is being able to rustle up a snack or meal, being able to self-regulate how much to eat or knowing the difference between a good choice and a not-so-good choice, the long-term impact of not having these skills is well documented.
So as a parent, how do you raise food savvy kids? In Glenda’s latest book, life love food kids, award-wining author and food educator Glenda Gourley gives you down to earth strategies and practical tips that really work. Together with her teenage daughter, Claire, they have written a book for parents like you. Glenda considers the serious things (nutrition, self esteem, eating too much junk food or not enough vegetables etc) and Claire brings her back to earth so she remembers how kids think and operate. Claire is the author of award-winning cookbook Who’s Cooking Tonight? Together they have something that is realistic and achievable. Supported by this website for parents and www.itsmyturntocooktonight.com for kids, the duo are making quite an impact.
The messenger is as important as the message
I have long been an advocate of a using role models to instigate food changes and inspire action with kids - this is the basis of the Food Savvy Kids strategy that Claire and I have established.
Last week we were paid the ultimate compliment. In the final end of year examination for Level 1 NCEA Home Economics (our national examinations), students had to analyze how Claire’s work on It’s My Turn to Cook Tonight and her work on Small Blacks TV show had influenced teenagers eating. Wow – we were stoked – 4 credits which could make up to 50% of their external grade!!
The examination assessment 90960 Demonstrate understanding of how an individual, the family and society enhance each other’s well-being is posted on http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/nqfdocs/ncea-resource/exams/2011/90960-exm-2011.pdf
As with all communication to children, especially those of food and nutrition, it has become apparent that the messenger, i.e who and how messages are delivered, are as important as the message. In fact you could debate that if the messenger isn’t relevant to the children then no message will get through at all.
I am looking forward to building up a big team of teen food role models in a teen cooking/job program we release next year. Watch this space….
The past few months have been amazing, our whole Teach Children to Cook strategy is gaining so much momentum as parents and educators alike discover the merits in what we are doing. In a nutshell our strategy has morphed from teaching children to cook into getting kids food savvy, hence our new logo and name Food Savvy Kids.
Whilst cooking remains very much at the core of what we are doing, we are now including the bigger picture - issues such as making good food choices, reading labels, shopping tips etc . Many of these are still communicated via cooking but we really wanted to acknowledge our ‘bigger picture look at things’.
Our new book life love food kids (details in the BOOKS tab above) has really galvanized our intent to treat food as very much part of family life - we can’t look at it in isolation. I am so excited about life love food kids and can’t wait to share it with you - it is certainly a very different look at a very big issue that most parents face. A quick glance at our health statistics will show you just how much the old food/nutrition approach isn’t working!!
The plan below shares our vision, objectives and activities of this strategy.
DOUBLE CLICK THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Claire’s site www.ItsMyTurnToCookTonight.com remains the same. It is nutrition education strategy cleverly disguised as cooking site for kids – her cookbooks are also nutrition education strategies – just so disguised that kids wont suspect that they are anything other than a cookbook of good tasting food. (details in the BOOKS tab above) To gain kid acceptance words like healthy and nutrition aren’t used very often at all!
DOUBLE CLICK THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Jamie Oliver on the Fight for Healthier Food
The British chef of ‘Food Revolution’ fame is out to change the way we cook, eat, and feed our kids. He tells Jillian Michaels about his efforts to get Americans thinking fresh.
Jamie Oliver — charming, witty, hyper, personable, emotional, talented are all words that come to mind at the mention of his name. I am a fan and have been for some time, so when tossing around names for my next celeb interview he was on the top of my list. I respect his dedication to health and his heartfelt attempts to improve the quality of our children’s lives. So, I reached out to his “people” and requested an interview. Here’s the conversation that transpired:
Jillian Michaels: First, I want you to know that I am a huge fan and have been for years! Literally since I discovered you while Bob and I were living in Australia — a mad fan.
Jamie Oliver: Thanks so much, it’s still funny to think that I’ve been doing this now for 12 years. The Aussies have always been very good to me. I try and get there every other year.
JM: I really appreciate your taking the time out of your schedule to answer these questions. I wish it was over cocktails. Not so sure what this is about, but I imagine you’d be a fun guy to grab a beer with — make that a light beer. All in moderation, right?
JO: I’m English, so we don’t drink light beer — lagers, ales, stouts — and usually in moderation. It’s a funny thing now that Americans put me with healthy food. I’m not the food police or a diet guy. I am trying to teach people about cooking skills and choosing fresh food over processed. Eat a wide variety of things, in reasonable portions. As a chef, it’s the only way that makes sense.
JM: I appreciate your perspective as one of not only health, but common sense. So that said, let’s get down to business. I loved Food Revolution. How did you originally come up with this concept, and why are you so passionate about fighting childhood obesity? Is there a personal connection to this cause of any kind?
JO: Food is personal. What we choose to eat or feed our families every day is the most personal choice we can make. Next to the mortgage, the food bill is going to be a large investment. When I started looking at school lunches (what we call dinners in England) I was disgusted by what I saw: Turkey Twizzlers, no real food or cooking, just processed crap and reheating. And the more people I talked to — teachers, school cooks, students — I realized how much they wanted to change the system and return to cooking and eating real food. I also saw many studies that showed the correlation between the rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes with the increase in processed food. So I wanted to try and figure it all out, and the best way I know how to do that is film it and give people watching TV more knowledge so they can make different choices. It’s sort of grown from England to America and around the world.
WHILE I WAS LOOKING THROUGH WWW. EVERYDAYHEALTH.COM I SAW A FASCINATING ARTICLE …
Should Parents of Obese Children Lose Custody?
When it comes to overweight children, who’s to blame? One doctor says that the parents should be held accountable – and the state should be allowed to help by taking custody of the child. The provocative commentary appeared Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association – one of the most prestigious medical journal in the country – and has struck a nerve with some parents and health officials.
Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.
If you look at the bigger picture, you will see it for what it really is – nurturing and loving your family. A crucial building block in your child’s development – this will empower you will elevate your focus and commitment. Teaching your children to cook and giving them food skills can be a pathway to confident, happy, children who ooze self-confidence and self-esteem. A happy child contributes to a happy family.
I can’t think of anything else more important - SO I WROTE A NEW BOOK ABOUT IT.
Love life food kids is full of tips and strategies to help parents inspire their children to eat a wide range of foods, make good food choices and have enough skills to be able to prepare good food. Love your children, inspire them to cook! The benefits of cooking are lifelong and too numerous to list here!
Watch this space i will have it loaded to my site really soon!!
Our book Who’s Cooking Tonight? won the Non-fiction Children’s Choice Award in the 2011 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards.
This was amidst tough competition from some of our literary ‘giants’ – so for cook book to have managed this amidst some very creative novels we are totally over-the-moon. Food and nutrition can obviously appeal to kids if well presented.
To win the Children’s Choice is perhaps one of the biggest thrills as proves it kids like what we have done – after-all they are our toughest critics, and if they don’t like it they won’t take any notice of it.
Both Claire and I are absolutely thrilled and honored have won the Award.
I wrote this post as a participant in the Eat, Play, Love blog carnival hosted by Meals Matter and Dairy Council of California to share ideas on positive and fun ways to teach children healthy eating habits. A list of other registered dietitians and moms who are participating in the carnival will be listed at the bottom of this post or can be found on Meals Matter.
As parents, we intuitively want to do the best for our kids - and often we start off with great gusto only to run out of steam if what we are doing isn’t getting great results. I ran a couple of focus groups with teens to find out the sort of things we could do to make them want want to cook. What we found out was seriously enlightening, somewhat amusing and really helpful!
We discovered eight key points… (I still struggle to keep a straight face when I recall how deadly serious they were!?!) These points could verge on being precocious – but it certainly helps us as parents if we know what they are thinking!
In their words, this is what parents should do…
1. Let me choose what I cook – “Simple – if I don’t like it, I’m not going to want to cook it”.
2. Get me a recipe that works – “If I go to the effort of cooking I want it to work… I don’t want have to have to keep running to you to ask what to do next”.
3. Have all the ingredients - “Don’t expect me to be able to substitute ingredients when I am just starting off on this cooking lark!”
4. Stay out of the kitchen – “Don’t be a helicopter hovering around. Give me some space to work things out – but stick around the house in case I need to ask”.
5. Resist ‘you should have’ comments’ – “If I want to know I’ll ask”.
6. Be impressed – “If you expect me to do this again you need to be impressed , so you might have to ‘fake it ‘til I make it’. And don’t go telling all your friends if I burn something or do something stupid”.
7. Don’t nag – “If I take a bit longer than you do or I don’t clean up exactly like you do, cut me some slack – I have just cooked you a meal!”
8. Cut me a deal! – “If you expect me to buy into this ‘cook a meal once a week idea’ there has to be something in it for me . This ‘skills for a lifetime’ doesn’t really flick my switch – but money for the movies or that new dress does. You are probably going to buy me new shoes at some stage anyway, you may as well make me think I have earned them.”
I am totally convinced of the benefits of kids being able to cook.Your child doesn’t need to be a budding chef, even a repertoire of half a dozen meals sets them well ahead of many kids.
Being able to cook will help to set your child up to take responsibility for what they eat. The fantastic bonus is that every time they cook, you can get a night off cooking and they get skills to last a lifetime - a win:win for everyone!!
Don't stop here! Join the carnival and read other Eat, Play, Love blogs from dietitians and moms offering the best advice on raising healthy eaters. And if you don't get enough today, for more positive, realistic and actionable advice from registered dietitian moms, register for the free, live webinar Eat, Play, Love: Raising Healthy Eaters on Wednesday, May 18.
The Best-Kept Secret for Raising Healthy Eaters, Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD
Feeding is Love, Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN
5 Quick Ways to Prepare Veggies with Maximum Flavor, Dayle Hayes, MS, RD
The Art of Dinnertime, Elana Natker, MS, RD
Children Don’t Need a Short Order Cook, Christy Slaughter
Cut to the Point – My Foodie Rules, Glenda Gourley
Eat, Play, Love – A Challenge for Families, Alysa Bajenaru, RD
Eat, Play, Love ~ Raising Healthy Eaters, Kia Robertson
Get Kids Cooking, Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Kid-Friendly Kitchen Gear Gets Them Cooking, Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD
Kids that Can Cook Make Better Food Choices, Glenda Gourley
Making Mealtime Fun, Nicole Guierin, RD
My No Junk Food Journey – Want to Come Along? , Kristine Lockwood
My Recipe for Raising Healthy Eaters: Eat Like the French, Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
Playing with Dough and the Edible Gift of Thyme, Robin Plotkin, RD, LD
Picky Eaters Will Eat Vegetables, Theresa Grisanti, MA
Raising a Healthy Eater, Danielle Omar, MS, RD
Putting the Ease in Healthy Family Eating, Connie Evers, MS, RD, LD
Raising Healthy Eaters Blog Carnival & Chat Roundup, Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RD, LD
Soccer Mom Soapbox, Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD
Teenagers Can Be Trying But Don’t Give UpDiane Welland MS, RD
What My Kids Taught Me About Eating Mindfully, Michelle May, MD
A BIG thanks to all of you who voted, or encouraged kids to vote, for Who’s Cooking Tonight? in the Readers Choice section of the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards. Voting closed yesterday and we are thrilled to say that we had 41% of the vote – the closest rival was on 20% – so looking good – BUT they still have to count all the votes from booksellers and libraries so fingers crossed we can hold that lead!!!
The results are announced at the Awards ceremony on the 18 May – so will find out how we got on in the non-fiction section then too…
THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT – I REMAIN VERY EXCITED AT THE POTENTIAL IMPACT WE CAN MAKE IF WE CAN MANAGE TO WIN AN AWARD – BUT NO SMALL FEAT GETTING THIS FAR!!!!
Claire is now getting a steady flow of really cool e-mails from kids wanting more cooking tips or telling her what they think about the book or how a recipe turned out. This is great because it really encourages interactivity. Certainly with her weekly TV appearance on Small Blacks and with last weeks TVNZ Good Morning show she is getting quite a following in NZ, but we are also excited about the number of kids from all over the place who are also reaching out.
I think this emphasizes just how much kids need someone they can relate to, share experiences with and feel comfortable asking questions when they are learning a new skill. It is part of our strategy which both Claire and I want to see develop.
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The last School Holiday Program was a crammed with fun and learning as kids got more food savvy!