How your child can help with dinner prep (tasks by age)

preschooler knife skills

Getting kids involved in dinner preparation, whether by letting them cook or set the table, is so important for them developmentally. There’s so much for them to learn, feel, and see!

But getting kids involved in kitchen prep can be scary. After all, there are knives. And hot ovens/stoves. And heavy pots and pans. The kitchen can look like a disaster waiting to happen.

Plus, you may be wondering where to even begin! How old do your kids need to be to start in the kitchen? When can you give them a knife? When can they use the stove? How do you keep them safe? (more…)

Are GMOs dangerous?

baby eating solids

Let’s start by discussing what a genetically modified organism (GMO) is.  Most of the time, we’re talking about food crops when we discuss GMOs.  In genetically modified organisms, a gene causing a desirable trait is taken from one organism and “plugged in” to another, so that the resulting plant has the trait we want. (more…)

5 ways to help your picky kid eat better

baby eating spaghetti

Almost every night, I set a plate down in front of General Leia, and for at least one food on there, she whines, “I don’t like this!” which is inevitably parroted by Bella Bean:  “I don’t like dis!”  Yet they end up eating at least some of it. My kids actually have a pretty varied diet, and I feel confident that their palette will continue to expand as they get older.  So how is this happening?

In Parts I, II, and III of this series, we established the pros and cons of buying organic food.  In Part IV, we talked about how you can get the most bang for your buck, nutritionally speaking, by buying groceries selectively.  But we all know that the most healthful food in the world isn’t going to help your kid if he or she won’t eat it.  So what do we do when our child is really used to a narrow diet and is unwilling to try new foods?

First and foremost, relax.  Think back to yourself when you were a kid.  Did you refuse a lot of foods then that you like, or even love, now?  Or do you at least know of someone else who you saw grow up to eat a more varied diet?  So see?  It’s going to be okay. (more…)

Cheap, budget friendly foods!

In Parts I and II of our food series, we discussed how to avoid pesticides in our foods, while in Part III, we looked at the nutrition of organic versus conventional food.  Perhaps your takeaway was, “That’s cute.  I’d like to have healthier food options, but they’re just so expensive!  Plus, produce goes bad so quickly.”  I’m hoping to give us options for some nutrient dense foods that are relatively cheap.

This is the problem a lot of us run into:  It seems like less healthy foods are cheaper.  A recent article in Vox discusses this very problem, and this graph, from an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, confirms what we already know instinctively:

The idea here is that we’re comparing cost per calorie in food.  The farther to the right a food is, the more calories it has, hence fats and oils being all the way to the right.  And the farther up the graph a food is, the more expensive it is (case in point:  you knew meat is expensive).  A lot of our processed, unhealthy foods that don’t provide many vitamins, minerals, and/or other nutrients.  These belong either in the “sugars, sweets, and beverages” category or the “grains” category.  Now, this is not to say that grains can’t be healthy, it just means that most of the products made with grains (many breads, crackers, tortilla chips, and snack foods) aren’t.  On the other hand, you don’t get a lot of calories from most fruits or veggies, but they cost nearly as much as grains, making them less economical, at least in terms of calories.

What the graph above doesn’t show is cost per micronutrients, which are vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, all that stuff.  (more…)