Your child's nutrition is important to his or her overall health. Proper nutrition can also prevent many medical problems, including obsesity, the development of weak bones and diabetes. It will also ensure that your child physically and mentally grows to fulfill his or her potential.
Promote good nutrition by setting good examples. Healthy eating habits and regular exercise should be a part of your family's daily life. Look for low-calorie and low-fat meals, snacks, desserts and drinks.
Follow these tips to keep your children healthy:
- Eat a variety of foods
- Balance healthy eating with physical activity
- Choose a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits
- Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol
- Choose a diet moderate in sugars and salt
- Choose a diet that provides enough calcium and iron to meet the needs of your growing child.
Helping in the Kitchen
Healthy eating habits are promoted when parents include children in the food preparation process. Show children how to pick a variety of foods and how to prepare them in ways that are flavorful, yet healthy.
Safety tips to follow when working with kids in the kitchen:
- Wash your hands and clean preparation surfaces before starting
- Wear an apron or smock to keep clothing clean
- Cover your hair (try making a chef's hat)
- Promptly return unused perishable foods to the refrigerator
- Always supervise children in the ktichen, especially when the over, stove or other appliances are being used
- Be especially cautious with recipes that involve hot grease or boiling liquids
- Use long wooden spoons for stirring over the stove to keep arms away from the heat
- Aim all pot handles inwards.
Kitchen Activities for Kids by Age
Kids age 2 to 3 can:
- Snap off the end of green beans
- Help tear salad greens
- Top cookies with nuts, raisins or chocolate chips before baking
- Take forks, spoon and napkins to the table.
Kids age 3 to 4 can:
- Help pour measured ingredients into a mixing bowl
- Spread peanut butter and jelly on bread with a plastic knife
- Use cookie cutters on flattened dough
- Pour their own cereal into a bowl.
Kids age 5 can:
- Help hold a hand-held mixer or press the buttons on a blender
- Help mix batters for pancakes, cakes or cookies
- Load the dishwasher
- Set and clear the table
- Make sandwiches.
Kids age 6 and older can:
- Make simple recipes with minimal supervision
- Make their own lunches
- Make snacks for themselves
- Help make the grocery list.