A month ago on this blog we recommended a free Stanford University course called Child Nutrition and Cooking – Click here to read that blog post. I’m currently two weeks through the course and am really enjoying it! Dr. Maya Adams has a very pleasant voice that makes for easy listening and the way she breaks down information and pairs it with clever visual aids makes the technical aspects of nutrition really easy to understand.
While giving plenty of great info on the importance of nutrition, Maya also highlights the importance of food and mealtimes as a way of coming together, showing care and love for one-another and passing on our histories and traditions to our children. It’s great to have meals together. I imagine that New Zealand mums prepare more meals at home than most US moms. I agree with Maya that the healthiest meal options will almost always be the types of food we cook and prepare at home. When we make meals ourselves, we can control what’s going into our children’s bodies and, as Maya says, unlike the big processed food companies, we have a strong interest in the health of the people who are going to eat what we prepare.
Maya does a great job advocating for unprocessed, homemade meals. Fast food and most packaged, wrapped or canned items in supermarkets are heavily processed. Processed foods are bad for our own and our children’s health because they have very little nutritional value and contain surprisingly large amounts of salt, fat and sugar to enhance the flavor and extend their shelf life. If a product has a long list of ingredients, it’s likely the food is highly processed, especially if the names are hard to recognise.
If you’re worried about childhood obesity, Maya’s handy tip is to help your kids avoid over-eating by serving meals on smaller dishes. A smaller plate filled with food is just as satisfying and looks just as appetising and appealing to our children, and the same goes for drinks, she says. Kids will be happier with a full small glass than a half filled regular sized glass of juice, for example.
Stay tuned for my next update on the final three weeks of lessons. If this info is interesting to you, do take a look at this free Child Nutrition and Cooking course. For more information or to enrol, click here to be redirected to the website.