Weekly column by the Ministry of Health |01 April 2022
MAKE 2022 THE YEAR YOU TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH
Take food to the family kitchen
Most of us have had family or friends walk into our house while we are cooking and immediately say “mmmm... that smells good!”
Such is the power of food. It can bring people together, unite a family, and not least create wonderful memories for children, which they can pass on to their own children later.
Cook at home with the family
This is why one of the central messages of our “Eat for Our Health” campaign is to take your food back to the kitchen and cook fresh food, thus avoiding an over-dependence on processed foods and fast foods.
Cooking with the family also involves using more local products, and even picking from what we've grown in our own garden.
Above all else, it’s the healthiest and most social way of eating.
Cooking at home is a great way to teach our children about food.
Your kids will feel proud and important when they help prepare food! Helping with chores in the kitchen is another way they can be part of the family, and it can encourage them to make healthier choices.
Cooking is also fun – because kids are natural kitchen helpers. They like the simple tasks of thinking about what to serve, and then cooking and serving food to the family. It’s just like a game and they will look forward to it next time.
Cooking teaches and nurtures
Kitchen tasks give your child a chance to measure, count and see food being transformed from colourful ingredients to healthy dishes.
That is early math and science learning. Your child can learn new words and symbols by cooking with you. Talk about the food and what you’re doing. Read words on food containers together.
Small muscle skills develop, too, when your child uses his or her hands to help with kitchen tasks.
And cleanup teaches responsibility. Cooking is one of the many creative, messy things we do, and doing it as a family makes it even more fun!
Cooking together is fun family time
Kitchen time can be a special parenting time. Cooking together creates closer bonds and helps build lifelong memories. You can also use the time to listen, share and talk with your child.
Pick kitchen tasks that match your child’s abilities.
1. A first step with younger children might be to encourage the following tasks: stir, pour, shake and tear.
2. As your child grows, expand to these tasks: spread, mix and knead.
3. An older child can help to accomplish these tasks with supervision: cut, grate and measure.
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to cooking together as a family!
Cooking with your kids helps teach them how to eat healthy and make informed choices about the food they eat.
While many kids will still prefer to play games or watch TV, cooking as a family together – and then eating the meal prepared together – will lay the groundwork for kids to prioritise family later.
Let us know how you cook with your family when you join us on social media - Eat for our Health Seychelles on Facebook, and @eat4ourhealth on Instagram.
Yours in health,
Your E4OH Team.
By:GP in collaboration with Nutrition unit, Health Care Agency