Kids in the Kitchen – Monday Cooking Tip #10: Talking About Nutrition

By Diana K. Rice, The Kids Cook Monday staff dietitian KE-special-feature

One of the most important reasons to teach your kids to cook is to expose them to great nutrition, which will set them up to make healthy choices later in life. But as children and adults alike know, the second something is labeled as “healthy” is often the second it starts to lose its appeal.

Conversation in the kitchen is an essential part of parent-child bonding and learning to cook, but talking about the health value of foods with young children can be a tricky situation. Beyond not wanting to scare children away from healthful foods, young kids also simply lack comprehension of what health really means.

Depending on your child’s age, you may want to take one of two approaches. With very young kids, skip the health talk altogether and instead focus on what different foods look, smell, taste and even sound like. Conversations such as these will help children to enjoy healthy foods before ever understanding what makes them so healthy. Later on, with elementary-aged kids, associate different foods with the nutrients they need to grow big and strong. Red and orange vegetables are packed with vitamin A, which is important for their eyes; foods with protein are necessary to grow big, strong muscles, etc. Before you know it, they’ll be asking to cook the foods they need to become a healthy adult like you!

Diana Rice

Diana K. Rice, RD is a registered dietitian on staff with The Kids Cook Monday, a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns at The Kids Cook Monday
In her role as RD and recipe editor, Diana writes and speaks on the many benefits of introducing children to culinary and nutrition education in the home environment and works to provide parents and educators with high-quality resources to aid in the process. She is also an advocate for the many social and health benefits of regular family dinners. At The Monday Campaigns, Diana also contributes to the organization’s largest initiative, Meatless Monday.

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