What is the definition of real food? Do kids even know where food comes from? Or is a fridge and a take away box the magic behind everything?
SOME SHOCKING FACTS:
- In 2010, Jamie Oliver stood in front of a classroom of six-year-olds to find out if children really did know what fresh food looked like. Holding up some tomatoes, Oliver asked: “Do you know what these are?” He was met with stumped faces until one boy shouted: “Potatoes!”
- The study, which surveyed 1601 Australian children aged between 6 and 17 years, revealed 92% did not know bananas grew on plants.
- Researchers also found that 6 in 10 children are unaware that herbs such as mint grow from the ground.
- Three-quarters of Australian children in their final year of primary school believe cotton socks come from animals and 27% are convinced yoghurt grows on trees.
- In 2013, a British survey found that almost a third of the country’s primary school children thought cheese was made from plants and a quarter thought fish fingers came from chicken or pigs.
- A third of 5-8 year olds believe that pasta and bread are made from meat, reported the BBC.
- Researchers also found that 4 in 10 young adults did not know where milk came from, with 40% of them failing to recognise the link between milk and a picture of a dairy cow.
If our children do not know what fresh food looks like and where it comes from we cannot expect them to eat it. Despite what we know about the food-disease relationship, obesity and diet-related disease rates continue to rise. Most people still lack the basic fundamental food knowledge to make important decisions regarding their health, which ultimately affects the future of our children.
We need to start teaching our kids where everything on their plate comes from and how it looks in its natural form. This can be a great conversation maker at the dinner table.
There are numerous tips on how to teach your child to eat fruit and vegetables, how to hide, bride and force feed healthy foods. All of these are probably spot on and should be tried, but there is only one that really matters…
SET THE RIGHT EXAMPLE!
Children learn where they live, making it vital that parents set the right example with their own food choices. If parents are routinely eating and snacking on unhealthy foods, how can children be expected to do any differently? Setting the right example to get children to eat right requires parental self-discipline. Parents need to provide loving and firm guidance in making healthy and wise choices regarding food and snacks.
Parents should name the foods that they are eating. If you never tell your child that milk comes from a cow how are the supposed to know that? Teaching opportunities should not end when the kids get back from school.