Kids in the Kitchen
In the not-so-distant past, children were taught about nutrition in a consistent way. The U.S. Nutrition Council educated teachers and parents to explain the four food groups. Dairy, protein, grain, and fruits and vegetables were the four building blocks to make a square – a square meal. Three squares a day was said to be the formula for sound nutrition and better health for a thriving nation.
Somewhere in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was an outcry regarding fats. Butter, eggs and all things that offered satiety were considered to be “bad.” This led to a nutrition revolution that replaced the four square model with a pyramid. Fats were placed at the top of this pyramid to suggest that they deserved the least amount of space in our daily nourishment. Fruits and vegetables took the big stage at the bottom. Then, absurdly, the pyramid was turned upside down. No one could understand this or teach children about it. Tree nut allergies, gluten sensitivity, sugar-linked behavior problems, diabetes, obesity and many other childhood nutritional maladies seemed to hit us all at once. It made as much sense as an upside down pyramid.
For today, I will harken back to a simpler model. It can be updated with many new and delicious foods. Cooking with kids is fun and educational. They deserve to be shown how to enjoy a wide variety of foods. Tennessee offers such a great array of fresh choices. Let’s teach our kids to nourish themselves with balance and appreciation (and occasional treats).
School is almost out … so lecture over! Let’s take a look at the menu for getting kids in the kitchen with healthy meals and snacks they can help you prepare.
My mother always said the same thing when she dished broccoli onto our plates: “Eat your trees.” The individual florets of broccoli do look very much like trees in springtime, and that’s the inspiration for my Trees and Cheese Pizza. Kids can help sprinkle on the toppings, and the cheese and marinara sauce can help to camouflage the green vegetables.