“Crunch Time” was originally published in the Greenwood Daily Journal, on Saturday November 5, 2011
Imagine it if you will. It is 4 PM. We are all just home from school and the mad dash for an afternoon snack begins. I am really hoping there will be something magically appear in the refrigerator that will satisfy my kids need to eat something, anything. Luckily, I had made something the day before that they wanted. They are not always so easy to please, but on this particular day I am victorious.
I know that when I get home after a long day it is easy to just stroll through the kitchen and pantry and graze. A handful of peanuts here, a few chocolate chips there and before I know it I have ruined my dinner and I have snack guilt.
The same thing can happen to our kids. They just want to eat something and they want it right now. Usually, if you have it in the house, kids will go for what is easy. Usually that means chips, pop and candy.
Ironically, most people are actually aware of the fundamentals of a healthy diet and the necessity of eating more vegetables and fruits while avoiding too much starch, sugar and saturated fat. Yet, having fruits and vegetables every day and breaking long-standing dietary habits seem to be one of the greatest challenges people face.
We’ve all had the experience of arguing with our children over eating their veggies, and sometimes this results in frustration. I have noticed that it seems that kids taste buds are somewhat desensitized to certain tastes. What I mean is, when your child’s diet consists of mostly pre-made and processed foods they start to forget what real food tastes like!
In the long run I hope to see that I was successful in exposing my kids to a range of tastes and textures at an early age and they picked up a few habits. Eating can be good, healthy and fun and kids see that they can still have the foods they enjoy. Later as they grow up some of these good eating habits may stick. But first we have to take the first step, teaching ourselves how to eat right and prepare healthy family meals and snacks.
So one strategy I use to get my kids engaged and interested in the food they eat is to involve them in the kitchen. We started with the basics like safety around the stove/oven, what you can and can’t put in the microwave, measuring liquids and solids and food safety. I put the two of them through a miniature home economics lesson, so to speak.
So many kids leave the house , ready for the real world of college and jobs and never gained the knowledge while growing up of how to cook let alone how to eat. I know what my level of cooking prowess was at the age of 18 and it’s a wonder I didn’t starve. Thank goodness for pizza delivery!
Start small with your kids in the kitchen. After a few lessons they may surprise you with how well they are picking up new skills. A few weeks ago one of my boys saw something in a cookbook and asked me if I thought he could pull it off. It was an ambitious dessert for even me but after a bit of tweaking we came up with a recipe that works. Now he kids can whip it up just as good as I can.
I think that some of the most valuable lessons in life that we teach our children are not the ones that are taught purposefully but the ones we teach them invisibly. I want my kids to associate food and mealtimes with happy times and conversation and not power struggles and fighting. Maybe they can pick up a few tricks watching me in the kitchen and leave the house in a few years knowing more than just how to boil water.
This quick little crunch time snack evolved from a recipe I used to make my kids when they were much younger.
We always seem to have apples, bananas and peanut butter in the house so I came up with this healthy fruit dip that is great with apple slices and graham crackers, too. Best of all my kids can make this all on their own!
|Rich, chocolaty and fun to dip your fruit into ????|