Another school year has come to an end but that does not mean that learning has to take a vacation; especially in the area of nutrition education. With kids home for the summer no doubt your grocery bill will see a noticeable increase. It would be easy to fall into the trap of stocking up on the many processed foods on the market and feeding these to your busy family. But summer is a great time to focus on the “Why, When, Where, and How” as it relates to nutrition education.
Food is a source of energy. Choosing healthy foods provides the energy to grow and play, and provides the building blocks of a strong, healthy body that aids in the growth and development of young children. Good nutrition habits can potentially increase academic success and decrease health care cost in the future.
It is important to teach children about healthy foods and their health benefits. When children learn these lessons at a young age, they are more likely to make healthier food choices throughout their adult life. As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy eating reduces risk for obesity, dental caries, and several diseases that can lead to death such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Anytime can be a great time to incorporate nutrition education, such as mealtime, story time, and play time. Parents can use every opportunity to teach children about making nutritious food choices.
Nutrition education can occur at any location. Planting and caring for a garden together with kids is a wonderful learning experience. As fresh vegetables ripen, let children get involved in preparing recipes using the produce. Invite children to experience new foods through taste testing and preparing simple snacks. The more children are exposed to healthy foods, the more likely they are to try them. (And like them)
The “Kids A Cookin’” web site is an excellent resource as your work with your children to learn basic cooking skills this summer. There are lots of recipes complete with a nutrition facts label. You can find the site by going to www.kidsacookin.ksu.edu Let me know if you have any questions about nutrition education with kids this summer.
Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. You may reach her at: (620)793-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org