Monday, June 20, 2011
Wolfgang Puck: Set a Good Example for Kids!
At SOSMentor's Poster Contest Awards Reception on June 13, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck took to the stage as our special guest speaker. Wolfgang Puck was so inspirational to our audience of LAUSD students, their families, and public health advocates, that we'll be blogging about the highlights of his speech all week long!
Today's topic? Educating children about healthy eating and exercise by setting a good example. Wolfgang reminded our audience that healthy living starts at home. By showing children what to eat at a very young age, parents can teach their kids skills they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
As a parent himself, Wolfgang shared great insight and practical advice with the parents in the audience. When his children were just 2 and 3 years old, he would take them to the Sunday farmers' market, where they would sample fresh fruits and vegetables together.
When he would taste a carrot or some asparagus, his children would naturally follow suit. It was here, at the farmers' market, where Wolfgang taught his kids how to choose the best strawberries (FYI, the darker ones are sweeter!) and about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables.
Indeed, studies confirm that when parents eat more fruits and vegetables, their children will eat more too. In a Michigan State University study, mothers' diets had a huge influence on whether their children ate enough fruits and vegetables. But it's not just up to moms -- research also shows that children whose fathers place less value on family mealtime or who frequently eat fast food are also more likely to eat fast food.
So what can we do about it? In addition to sampling fresh food at farmers' markets, Wolfgang suggests getting kids involved in the kitchen. By the time they were 4 or 5 years old, his kids were helping peel vegetables and prepare family meals. When kids are more involved in the kitchen, they're more likely to eat what they prepared.
Wolfgang also urges us to teach our kids that food is "something sacred, something we enjoy together." Family mealtime is an opportunity to turn off the television, sit down at the table together, and talk about what's going on in our lives.
By providing this structure for our kids and setting a good example at the dinner table, parents can teach their kids to make healthy eating a lifelong habit. Take it from Mr. Wolfgang Puck, and sit down to a nutritious, home-cooked meal with your kids tonight!
Posted by SOSMentor at 3:17 PM