Teaching Kids about REAL FOOD

This post is being written impulsively and I already know I'll be posting more in the future as this will be rather incomplete but, as I sat down to write about one topic, this topic just leaped out of nowhere into my head and I decided to go for it.

From the perspective of being a mom, I know it's very important to teach our kids about natural health and the difference between food products that is the main makeup of the standard American diet and REAL FOOD.

From the perspective of a homeschool mom who sometimes looks through health curriculums, I know there's not a whole lot out there that comes from this perspective.

So what I want to do here is suggest on HOW to go about teaching your kids about REAL FOOD and the differences between conventional thought and non-conventional, the latter being the thought I find to be scientifically proven and the better, healthier way to go.

The first and foremost thing you can do is have discussions with your child.  Involve your child during food preparation time and while washing your fresh greens, cutting tomatoes and onions, and sautéing some grass-fed beef or chicken, discuss WHY you have chosen this meal.  What nutrients is it providing?  Why did you choose organic greens over conventional greens that are less expensive?  Why did you choose the grass-fed beef from the farmer down in the valley instead of the bonus pack of conventional beef on sale at the local grocery store?

Secondly, involve your child in recipe selection, menu prep and grocery shopping.  Give your child hands on experience in selection of nutrient dense foods, delectable treats that are actually healthy and teach them how to pick out the best produce and meats at the store.

Thirdly, find what reading materials/curriculums are available.  This is the part I hope to add onto in the future.  Thus far I have two particular sources that I find beneficial for kids.

  1.  The Omnivore's Dilemma Young Reader's Edition - This is an edition of MichaelPollan's book written specifically for younger readers.  You can easily assign an older child to read this, but I suggest it as a read aloud to do as a family.
  2. Real Food Nutrition & Health  - Kristen Michaelis has an astounding blog Food Renegade and is a mother and passionate advocate for real food.  Use this book and her blog as tremendous sources for endless hours of discussion and education on Real Food.  She actually has a number of books and classes on her site. I was pleasantly surprised when looking for a link to include here that she has an edition of Real Food Nutrition and Health for younger kids now!  It looks really good and something I'll have to check out for my younger son in a couple of years 🙂
  3. Blogs - There are lots of blogs out there on real food.  I already mentioned Food Renegade written by Kristen Michaelis.  Others I recommend are 100 Days of Real Food, and Rubies & Radishes. There are a LOT more, but like I said - this post is written a bit impulsively.  I plan on working on searching out more books and completing a list of good blogs.  Blogs can be read by you and then posts you feel are pertinent or relevant can be read by your child and then followed by a family discussion.

Give me some feedback.  What are some other sources on Real Food that you use in the education of your child?




4 thoughts on “Teaching Kids about REAL FOOD

  1. Deidre

    My kids are still toddlers and until reading this post, I didn't realize that I have already started their education. We are fortunate that much of what we eat comes from our backyard. When I buy the fruits and vegetables we don't grow, my oldest knows to look for the green sign of organic. I also separate food we have at home with food from restaurants and junk food. Food we have at home is for health and energy, food we have at restaurants is for fun. Although Katie at wellnessmamma.com would disagree. She believes that if we associate fun or good feelings with unhealthy food it will lead to eating disorders. She might be right, but my family enjoys a dinner out once a week and so that is how I deliver it. In all honesty I'm not sure it was the right decision. When offered tater tots and fish sticks at a friends house, my oldest exclaimed, "that's junk food, that won't give you energy and make you healthy, you shouldn't eat that at home".

    I think when it comes to food education, the best resource is communication. We discuss everything that is on the plate. Now that my daughters have finally discovered where meat comes from we can do that. Where did the yogurt come from, why is it good for you, do raspberries grow on trees or shrubs, what kinds of food do chickens eat, why do they eat organic food, etc. I'm always amazed at how much kids absorb even when you think they aren't listening. Just this morning as my 2 year old was pouring milk on the table, my oldest exclaimed, "don't waste milk, Annabelle worked hard to make that". Annabelle is our milk cow.

    I use wellnessmamma.com for a lot of recipes, whole food eating ideas as well as ways to get kids involved. She is a wonderful resource.

    1. orthodoxmom3

      Indeed - most people don't really realize their home educators starting at birth!! 🙂 We educate our children with EVERYTHING we do with them....some of it not so good unfortunately. But even when making the menu selections and grocery shopping, we are educating our children. (And remember, they learn more by what we do than what we tell them!)
      I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with separating restaurant vs. home food. Hopefully your restaurants aren't McDonald's...but to tell our children that they must ALWAYS eat 100% healthy (not saying to not avoid potential allergens or ingredients that would cause immediate harm) is asking for rebellion. A kid has to be a kid. I still make treats at home but that is what we call them. Treats. Not health food. BUT, those treats are selected with wisdom. I don't give my kids cotton candy or cookies from a box filled with colors and toxins. We make them from scratch OR sometimes from a box...but one that we've read the ingredients from and know the ingredients won't cause us any harm - because we do eat healthy and naturally, we have reactions to artificial ingredients. (see my post here if you haven't: Our Food Story).

      Absolutely, communication is key. As I said - verbal discussion! Thanks for sharing your source. I'll check out that blog...seems familiar to me. Maybe it's one I follow...I really do follow too many. I can't keep up! LOL
      Thanks so much for your input!!!

  2. mycookinglifebypatty

    Smart Mom!!! Because I write a food blog, I do research quite a bit and have found that Whole Foods’ website has some great information on just about any food. When my kids were growing up I would have them pick an unusual-looking vegetable, learn the name of it and they would play “stump the cashier” to see if the checkout person also knew the veggie. Then we’d go home and try a new recipe using the new veggie.

    1. orthodoxmom3

      Thank you so much Patty. I enjoy your blog. I will note to take a look at their website. I certainly enjoy their store when we are traveling. It's one of the few we are able to go and feel fairly safe in eating from a buffet type selection. I also have a friend that makes a point in having her kids pick out something new to try each time they go to the store. It's an excellent idea.

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