FOOD INTELLIGENCE 101 – HOW TO TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT GOOD FOOD

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I am a big believer in the benefits of informing and involving your kids with all things food related.  It helps empower kids to make good food choices and become healthier, happier beings who are more committed to change and try new tastes.  Previous blogs have dealt with similar topics, such as: informing your kids about the change to additive free foodshow to teach them about the effects of food additives; and evenwhat the cleansing process is like once you make the change to additive free food.  It’s always good though, to start with the basics and develop general knowledge and awareness of food… The bare bones of what I like to call Food Intelligence 101…  And it makes sense really… How can your kids know if they like goji berries, if they don’t know what they are?

So today’s blog is full of quick tips to start the education process in a general sense.  To make it easy, I’ve broken the tips down into WhatWhenWhere and the all important How it’s best to teach your kids about food.  Hope it helps, and if you like find it useful, please feel free to comment or share!

food intelligence 101 for kids

TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR KIDS GOOD FOOD EDUCATION

1. THE WHAT… (WITH SOME HOW)

Teach the a-z of the food world

It all starts with the language.  Kids are sponges when it comes to words and language.  The more bizarre and fun to say, the better.  Break out the abc’s of food and expand their vocab!  You will be setting the foundations for a whole new level of food intelligence.  Talk about the names of foods when you’re walking through the fruit and veg aisle in the markets or supermarket.  Enjoy the way the words roll off your tongue before the food even touches it. Branch out beyond the food names to cooking methods and discover languages from all over the world!  Saute, stir fry, sushi… Ok, so maybe not the official way to say it in other languages but you get the gist!  Click here for the fruit and vegetable alphabet to help get you started.

Teach them about what’s healthy and what’s not

Delve deeper into the types of foods and explore what’s inside them.  What goodness do they contain?  How does it help your body and your mind?  What’s good for you and what’s not? How much do we need?  How can we eat it?  Cooked, raw, frozen, fresh, mixed together with other foods, julienned, grated, mashed, grilled – the options are endless!  Keep the language flowing and teach the meanings at the same time.

2. THE WHERE… (WITH SOME WHAT AND WHEN)

Expand beyond the walls of your kitchen or dining room

When and where to discuss/teach/learn Food intelligence is limitless.  Yes, in the kitchen you can discuss things as they help you to prepare, cook and devour.  Then at the table model the language of tastes and textures, temperatures and preferences.  Tangy, sweet, spicy and crunchy.  Get descriptive (dust off those adjectives!) as you help your kid lets learn about taste whilst promoting the power of mindful eating (remember that term for a future blog dear readers!).  I’ve talked before about taking the classroom to the shops, where they help to choose foods and discuss what they will be used for, how they will be prepared and what tastes so good together. (Click here for more tips on shopping with kids).

Why not venture outside and extend their food intelligence into the garden.  Involving and informing at it’s best – helping to grow foods and invest in the appreciation and joy of creating food from scratch, quite literally!  Teach them how to compare what are good choices and what aren’t when you take a trip to the movies, bowling alley, shopping centre, food court, cafe or restaurant.  Learning about what foods are available outside the safety of home and how to make good choices is an important step in their food intelligence growth.

3. THE HOW…

Of course all this talk of education and learning is not going to go over well unless you make sure it doesn’t seem like learning at all.  Best to do this by making it fun of course!  That way they’ll remember it too :-)  Appeal to their senses – get them to touch, feel, taste, smell, see, hear the food in all it’s shapes and forms.  The more senses the better, but especially touch, see and taste for little kids.  Make up rhymes or songs, games and be dramatic!  Become eye spy detectives in the shops as you search for the missing snow pea and it’s partner in crime the avocado.  Find your inner child and get creative!  Use books, cartoons, apps, videos and songs to implant the memories and cement the knowledge.  Yes, you might attract attention in the aisles, but only because you’re helping to create clever happy kids!

Ultimately, the onus is on you, dear parentsbabypeas to raise your child’s IQ on the food intelligence scale and start imparting the joy of the main thing that energizes us all.

There are lots of super amazing people out there (hello Costa Georgiadis, Stephanie Alexander and Jamie Oliver!) who are spreading the word about the importance of food intelligence by bringing it into our school systems all over the world.  I applaud them all!  If you’re not fortunate enough to be directly involved with their work, you don’t have to miss out… You can start your food intelligence classes within your own precious family now you’ve got some tips to get the ball rolling.

Want help along the way?  Click here for the a to z of fruit and vegetables to get you started.  It’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a start, and one you can add to and decorate with your kid lets!  I will be adding more to this link so keep checking back for other fun ways to start your kids food intelligence education.

Here endeth the lesson in Food Intelligence 101.  Class dismissed!

Loren x

PS Dried goji berries are tangy, vibrant chewy little parcels of delight, often seen to be cavorting with crunchy nuts and silky smooth yoghurt in our abode. (see what I did there?!) :-)