Published on July 24th, 2014 | by Kelly Rose Bradford0
Why our kids must know what they are eating
My son was quite incredulous when he read a report that claimed one in three children did not know that chips come from potatoes. “Where did they THINK they came from?” he asked. “The chip shop?”
I confess I’ve always been guilty of being the food police in our house – as we are vegetarian, we are always subjecting our potential purchases to almost forensic examination, not only to make sure they are free from fish or meat derivatives, but also that they are, as far as possible, natural, without additives and preservatives, and grown in a sustainable way. My pathologist-like analysis of food has led him to be similarly skeptical and probing when offered anything outside the home, and he will routinely quiz waiting staff about what EXACTLY is in the meal he wants to order.
It probably irritates the life out of his friend’s parents when he goes round for tea or for a sleepover and it certainly raises eyebrows at his grandparents’ home, but I strongly believe kids should be taught very early on to find out what they are eating and where it comes from. That way, good nutritional choices can be made, and children can actually build some invaluable food knowledge.
Of course, manufacturers have to play their part in this as well as parents. As a mum, it is always very reassuring to see brands being transparent about their manufacturing processes, and how and where they source their ingredients. Knowing you can easily access that information just means there is one less thing to worry about come meal time.
But getting kids involved really is at the heart of healthy eating regimes – I know when me and my son planted up a little veggie patch in our garden a few years ago, he suddenly wanted to learn EVERYTHING he could about growing and crops, and the seed section of our local garden centre became his favourite hangout. Not everything we grew was a success – we vowed never to speak of the radishes, again, for example – but most things took off (including a crazy amount of pumpkins which took over the whole garden!).
So although we had a bit of a giggle over those one in three children who did not know their fries started off life as a potatoe, it also left me feeling rather sad; I’ve seen first hand how children love to get involved with growing and cooking and choosing what food they eat; how they will experiment much more widely if they have a little bit of food knowledge, how the whole ‘field to fork’ process can really capture their imaginations.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if those one in three kids all had a little pot in which to grow some potatoes? Or got to visit a crop farm and saw wheat being harvested for their breakfast cereals, or cow’s being milked for their mid-morning drink? Of course, lots of children do get to see this, but all the while so many cannot identify the source of what is on their plate, it’s obvious not enough do. It’s up to us, mums and dads – let’s do this! (with a little help from some trusted manufactures, of course!)
(Check out the fab video below from Kellogg’s showing a troop of ‘little farmers’ discovering where their food comes from!)
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Kellogg’s via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the the opinions or positions of Kellogg’s.