Coursera.org’s free online class by Maya Adam, MD, Child Nutrition and Cooking 2.0 just started yesterday, and I’m really enjoying it so far. If any of you are interested in taking it, HERE is a link to get you started. 🙂 If you want to learn more about it, HERE is where you can find a little documentary about the course. If you can’t sign up for this session, I think the next session starts in May.
I thought I’d share a few of my favorite notes from the first week’s material with you:
-Ads: warn/teach your kids about ads (specifically, ads for processed foods) even from a young age. Don’t let them fall prey. Also, recognize that when you show your kids that you enjoy eating healthy foods, you are advertising those foods to your children. Let them be influenced by you and not by the TV ads.
-Maybe cold cereal is more processed than I thought! Maya talked a lot about how the big processed food companies process the food and add things in at the end to give it a longer shelf life, nice colors, and great flavors. She recommends reading the ingredients on the labels, and as a rule of thumb, going with whatever has the least number of ingredients.
– Two Purposes of Food: One, Nutrition for our Bodies and two, Social Functions. So not only does food provide our bodies with the energy and nutrients we need to grow and maintain ourselves, but just as important to note, food provides a means for communication, social connections, emotional health, and a way to pass our history and traditions on to our children as well as make new memories with them. These things can happen when we sit around the table with our children during mealtimes.
-Maya talked about the importance of water to our bodies, which we often forget. That’s one thing I always have to remind myself.
-We should teach our kids correct portion sizes. Using smaller plates at mealtimes may help.
-Keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked with ingredients you use. Maya tells us about a few key ingredients to keep on hand to cook veggies with to make them taste great (like olive oil, onion, garlic, lemons, salt, and sugar). Stocking up on items you use often will make it much easier to and more likely that you’ll cook a meal at home so you don’t have to run to the market on the spur of the moment. And so you don’t resort to fast food!
-She left us with a little saying to remember: “It’s better to be real than to be perfect”. She recommends making an imperfect meal at home as opposed to going out for fast food. For example, if you only have the time or ingredients to make some pasta with chopped tomatoes and a sprinkle of cheese one night, even though it doesn’t sound like the healthiest and most well-balanced perfect meal, it is probably going to be much healthier than fast food.
So far, this course has been pretty fun! Many of the “be healthier” concepts are common sense, but they are also great reminders about child nutrition and a healthy lifestyle in general, and Maya has some great ideas to make eating healthier a little bit easier. 🙂