Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Adventures in 8 year old chef training...

My now 8 year old is only interested in one thing....food. He talks about food constantly, dreams about food, and writes in his school journal about the fact that he went on a Disney Cruise and ate ice cream, Mickey pancakes, and pizza. For Christmas a few years ago, he asked Santa for cheese. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he immediately replies, "a chef!"

Here is the rub...it is literally constant. He eats breakfast and an hour later he is asking for lunch. He always wants to snack. Because of his asthma (and just overall disinterest in anything athletic) he has started to gain a considerable amount of weight. I am all for nurturing his interest in cooking (although I have a complete lack-luster talent for cooking), but we are at the point where I need to teach him the details about food. We need to discuss the differences in carbs, proteins, and fats. We need to learn about the food pyramid and portion sizes. We need to learn the basics about food preparation, storage, and plating. 

I am also going to find creative ways to get him moving more. This kid is mine, through and through. He is so stubborn and is only interested in what he is interested in. Nothing is going to change his mind. He is me! So my goal for him this summer is to work with him on the following:

1. Learn the difference between carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. 

2. Learn about portion sizes for children and adults.

3. Differentiate between healthy and not-so-healthy choices and learn how to balance them in our diets.

4. Create and participate a body moving activities daily that will challenge his both his mind and body.

I want to get this started now since I return to school in July and will be gone daily from 7:30am to 1:30pm. 

Today we began with a lesson in types of food. I brought out some plastic trays and a variety of foods. His goal was to divide each food into categories: Fruits, veggies, dairy, and grains. I used what we had...and yes, I need to go to the grocery store. Thank goodness we get paid on Thursday!

This is what he came up with...

We have mandarin oranges, pineapples, grapes, and watermelon in one container. In the other, we have cheese cubes, wheat crackers, pickle spears, and squash with low fat ranch dip. 

He was then able to create a plate with a variety of healthier options....including a hand full of peanuts that we added after we put the trays together. He was happy to cut the pieces, arrange everything, and label each item. We then added healthy drinks to the list...milk, water, and crystal light. 

We will start of with the basics. He needs to be able to cut things, sort things, and mix very simple things before I teach him how to really cook. I want to focus on making healthier meals and snacks with him...not "diet" type foods. He is already understanding how to make better choices, asking for whole wheat bread now instead of white bread. Baby steps!

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