The 2014 Eat Local Challenge is pleased to be organizing and planning weekly Local Food fun activities specifically for kids and their moms. Thanks to Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative and new studies showing the link between childhood obesity and health problems later in life, we are organizing a littler challenge to get children to step up to the plate.
Children are tomorrow’s leaders and their education and awareness of where food comes from can be an invaluable learning experience. Going through the Eat Local Challenge with your children can be a shared adventure. Below we have posted healthy eating tips for children. We will have an active “Locavore Kids” recipe forum during the Eat Local Challenge where we will be posting fun all local recipes for dishes kids love. We also encourage families to join the Crescent City Farmers Market “Marketeers Club” for more fresh food children activities. For more information email Elizabeth at email@example.com.
Here are 10 tips for getting your kids on the road to becoming a locavore:
1. Allow your children to help in the kitchen
Peel carrots/potatoes, washing fruits/veggies, etc. Make a work station specifically for them: get a step stool, a small table, or their own apron, be creative.
2. Make it sweet!
Strawberries, bananas, cherries, oranges, grapes, apples, tomatoes, sweet peas, etc. Kids are usually more open to sweeter tasting foods, and then you can start introducing other healthy foods gradually.
3. Make it fun!
Snack and meal-time activities should be introduced and reinforced in creative, colorful and playful ways. There are suggestions below for some fun and easy ways you can make fruits and vegetables an all-time favorite with your child. While you do these activities, allow your child to explore the various properties of fruits and vegetables by touching, tasting, smelling and hearing.
4. Make foods and drinks sound fun
Names of food could be off-putting and sound downright unappetizing. Try naming the foods after their favorite super hero, cartoon or even celebrity. For example, a “Hannah Montana Smoothie” or “Spider Man Casserole.”
5. Make it special
One reason kids really like those unhealthy snacks is because they are delicacies they can only have as a special treat. If you make the healthy choices sound like a reward or treat as well, they would subconsciously accept them as treats too.
6. Educate them
Sometimes, the best way to communicate with your kids is to be as honest and direct as possible. We often give them less credit for how understanding they can be, and if you could combine honesty with what appeals to them, you might be surprised at the successful results. For example, explain to your growing boy how he would need to eat his veggies if he wants to be strong like a firefighter.
7. Mask It
Who says you have to tell your kids what’s in the awesome smoothie or even in the surprise pie? Find creative ways to mix in those greens with more fun-colored treats.
8. Encourage them to try it
A lot of the time, kids don’t even know what the food tastes like before they decide they do not like it. Give them a choice of various types of healthy foods and present them in more creative ways.
9. Set a good example
Even though it might not seem like it, kids are always watching and trying to emulate adults. If you show them that eating healthy is the grown-up thing to do, just like they can’t wait to wear makeup and heels, this too could become cool to them.
10. Take your kids shopping with you
Farmers markets are more fun than supermarkets. Not only are the aisles more entertaining (interesting people, colorful foods & flowers, and friendly dogs!), but many markets have activities like puppet shows or singalongs. Ask your children for assistance: “Can you find me the best deal on carrots?” or “Can you find the melon that smells the sweetest?”
More Ideas to keep em Happy!
Try something new.
Allow your child to try a new fruit or vegetable. Jicama! Zucchini! Bok choy! Mango! Papaya! These foods may sound silly, but they taste great and they’re good for you.
Do a taste test or a crunch test!
Dip carrots into three different flavors of low-fat dressing or try a crunch test with three different kinds of vegetables to see which vegetable crunches the loudest!
Play a game!
Guessing Game: Prepare several foods for your child to taste while he or she is blindfolded. See if your child can identify each food. Help your child use words to describe what he or she tastes, such as salty, sweet, crunchy, smooth, warm, cold, etc. Sorting Game: After grocery shopping, play a sorting game by grouping various fruits and vegetables by different categories – color, taste, texture, food group, etc.
Play “What can we make with this?”
Talk about how a certain fruit or vegetable, such an apple, is good for the body. Then, talk about the various foods they can make with an apple.
Where do foods come from?
With your child, visit a farm to explore where foods come from and how they grow. Can you try planting your own fruit and vegetable? How about a tomato?
Make a healthy snack.
Have your child pick a variety of fruits to make a fruit salad. As he/she adds each new fruit to the bowl, talk about the colors of each fruit and how they help the body stay healthy in different ways.