If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I occasionally write about childhood nutrition issues: childhood obesity, children’s menus, cooking with kids, etc. One thing I am very passionate about is feeding children real food. What I mean by this, is that it is best to introduce children to the same foods you and other adults eat.
Kid favorites like mac ‘n’ cheese and chicken fingers are pretty much always available to kids at restaurants, but no child needs to eat those calorie-laden meals every time he eats out (or even when eating at home). If you knew me as a child you’d be saying “Who are you to talk?!” because I was what many parents would call a picky eater. Staples of my diet were chicken nuggets, pizza bagels, and mac ‘n’ cheese, and the only vegetables I liked were peas and carrots (especially carrots). Looking back at my diet, it’s a good question how I became a dietitian (and I didn’t even tell you about all the desserts I used to eat)! Lucky for me I didn’t have a weight issue, which may be why no one thought twice about what I ate. But from a nutrition standpoint, I would not want my children eating the same way.
My interest in childhood nutrition and making sure children learn about all varieties of foods is what excited me to write my first kids’ cookbook, We Can Cook: Introduce Your Child to the Joy of Cooking with 75 Simple Recipes and Activities.
The book is full of recipes that I developed using a variety of foods including ones that children may not be familiar with. Every recipe is designed to have children help in the preparation, this way they get to know the foods they are going to be eating and they will learn how to cook at the same time. While the book is geared to children ages three to six, children of all ages can take part in making these recipes — the older the child, the more he or she can do in the kitchen! There are also a handful of food-related activities written by Maja Pitamic.
And don’t fret — there are recipes for Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Chicken Fingers included!