Teach Children How To Cook

Personal sharings of Chef Peter Pang on How To Lead Your Child To Healthy Eating

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How To Turn Junk-Food Eating Kids to Healthy Eating Kids

Posted by Peter Pang on August 16, 2008

How to Turn Junk-Food Eating Kids to Healthy Eating Kids

You are probably thinking that eating healthily is an idea that just won’t work with your kids. After all, they love their chips, cookies, popsicles, sweets, fried chicken, fried nuggets and soft drinks. Or is the real stumbling block yourself? You are afraid you can’t do it successfully. Well, you are not alone, friend. If I can do it, so can you. Let me share with you a phrase that I learned from the Money & You Program.

In order for things to change, first I must change.

Here are some Tips for Changing

  1. Set a Good Example Young children often mimic what they see. They observe what you do, and most importantly, what you eat, so parents should set an example by eating healthy food. Let your children know that you love the flavour and the juiciness of a starfruit. There is no need to push the “it’s good for you” message. Let them discover that message for themselves and share it with you.

  2. Avoid Eating the Same Dishes Repeatedly It is very important for everyone to eat a variety of foods. Adding variety to your meals can spark interest in a new food for your child and provide a source of a wider range of nutrients.

  3. Don’t Use Junk Chips as Bargaining Chips – Never use food as a reward for good behaviour or good grades, or take away food as a punishment. Linking food to your child’s behaviour will only make things worse and lead to eating issues later in life.

  4. Change What You Stock in Your Pantry – If your pantry has ready access to junk food, or sugary, salty and high-fat snacks, it is going to make healthy eating even more difficult. Gradually replace some snack chips with baked chips and buy smaller packs or less of these high-fat items. Instead, keep a supply of healthy alternatives on hand, such as having fruits and yogurt in your fridge.

  5. Hide Unpopular Food Inside Popular Food Try adding fruits, vegetables and whole grain into your child’s favourite recipes. Try adding carrots, spinach, red capsicum and broccoli into dishes. Try cutting or grating vegetables into small pieces and adding them to meatballs, meatloaf, burgers, pasta sauce. Eat brown rice or unpolished rice rather than white rice. Try adding fruits to desserts, topping ice creams with fresh papaya, cakes with strawberry or cheese cake with fresh fruits. Gradually, your kids will accept other changes in the future.

  6. Take It Slowly – Changing your kid’s eating habits doesn’t need to happen overnight. Give it some time; make changes gradually over months and the process will go more smoothly. For example, you can plan to add extra fruits to this week’s menu and add extra vegetables to next week’s menu. Repetition will, one day, turn into life long habits.

  7. Drink More Water Water is the best liquid you can give to your body. It is cheap and calorie-free, and is also a better choice for rehydrating active kids. Fresh fruit juice should be taken moderately by a child as fruit juices tend to have a high concentration of sugar.

  8. Turn Eating Fruits and Vegetables Into a Game – The United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA) in year 2005 recommended six to eight servings of fruits and vegetables in a day. One serving is about half a cup. Set a goal with your child. If she can successfully take three servings a day, then target five servings. Write down on a board and keep track of her performance and give rewards such as a family outing or a new book.

  9. Give Your Child Control Over the Food They Eat – Kids need to feel they have some control over the foods they eat, so involve them in the decision making process. Sit down and plan with them a list of snacks or lunch choices that are healthy. If decision making is a challenge to them, let them choose between two or three options, such as grapes, yogurt or a pear.

  10. Encourage Others to Help Discuss healthy food choices served in the school canteen with the school board. Arrange with your day care provider to provide healthy snacks to the children. Toddlers and preschoolers are always willing to accept new foods when presented in a relaxed environment.

  11. Introducing New Foods and Flavours – Every time you say “Today I have cooked something special,” your child will be suspicious of this new offering and might reject it. Here are some tips to introducing new foods and flavours to your child. Add a small amount of a new vegetable or fruit to an existing food that they like. Give a new dish a silly name. For example, Honey Hummy Salad, Daddy’s Sport Car, Silly Willy Bun, Ocean 5 Meat, Sponge Jack Cake, etc.

  12. Let your child help you in preparing a new dish – encourage your child to try a new food while you are working together in the kitchen. Keep making nutritious food available until your children are willing to taste them. Introduce the one-bite rule: Everyone has to have one bite of a new food before they are allowed to reject it. Any time you serve a new food to your child, place only a small amount on their plate. If they like it, add some more. And if they don’t, just remove the food from their plate. At this time, put on your thinking cap to find ways to hide these nutritious food that your child had rejected into their normal meal. Handle the introduction of new food in a calm, reassuring way. Avoid making a big deal out of it and never insist that your child finish everything on her plate.

Hope you like this article and do recommend it to your friends.

Tomorrow, I will talk about how to develop good eating habits in your child.


Peter Pang


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How To Get My Kids To Eat Vegetables and Fruits

Posted by Peter Pang on August 15, 2008

My Kids hate vegetables and fruits.

How do I get them to eat vegetables and fruits?

Here are ways to get to know your child by age and some tips on how to incorporate vegetables and fruits into your kid’s daily diet.

It’s true. You are what you eat. So is your child. Food is definitely one of life’s great pleasures, but when it comes to feeding children, it can also become a huge challenge. Parents have the power to pass on healthy eating habits just by making good choices for their children when they are young.

“In automobile terms, the child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering.”

Your child needs your guidance, love and encouragement especially when it comes to food choices. I know it’s easier to let them have what they want but later in life, your child will find it hard to resist what is bad for them.

If children are taught early on to make good choices when it comes to food, many adult health problems can be avoided as proven by research.

Do you realize that a three-year-old child gets almost as much fun out of a $500 set of swings as she does finding a small green worm? The key is to show them what can be good fun.

Give your child the childhood they rightfully deserve. Remember, the best present you can ever give to your child is to teach them how to eat right, and to me, that is by teaching them how to cook. But before that, GET TO KNOW YOUR CHILD !

Toddlers: Between 12 and 24 months old, toddlers enjoy new foods. They will eat just about anything that you feed them. I remember the time when my daughter Joice was 18 months old, she would just sit on the high chair and savour whatever food that was put on her plate. She would calmly and quietly use her spoon to scoop up food and put it into her mouth, enjoy it and later pick up her plate to ask for more.

If you have a toddler, this is a great window of opportunity to introduce different types of fruits and vegetables into her diet. At this age, your child has a relatively small stomach, so there is little room to fill up on empty calories.

(Empty calories, in dietary terminology, are calories present in high-energy foods with poor nutritional profile. Foods often considered to contain empty calories are sweets, soft drinks, margarine or shortening, butter or lard and other highly-saturated fat. The substitutes for empty calories are fruits, vegetables, wholegrain bread and 100 percent fruit juice and vegetable juice.)

However, your child is just beginning to establish her independence and making her own food choices. As long as you put nutritious food on his or her plate, you can encourage your child to choose what to eat and how much. For toddlers, it is a good practice to cut food into smaller pieces to eliminate choking hazard. Try cutting bread into smaller squares, and slicing cooked carrot into “coin” shapes and cheese into triangles. Serve your children whole milk up until they are two years of age – they need the extra fat for proper brain development. After that, you can switch to low-fat or fat-free milk.

The trouble with children is that they are non-returnable, so you have to make the best out of what you get!

Preschoolers: Preschoolers should continue to build on the healthy habits that began earlier in life. Food rich in calcium and protein are important and should be included in their diet as it fuels rapid physical growth. Take advantage of preschoolers’ natural curiosity to prepare simple and healthy food for them. Continue to present new food to them. Limit the amount of sweets because sugar adds lots of calories without beneficial nutrients and contributes to tooth decay and obesity.

Elementary Schoolers: School-going children spend many hours away from home. Their eating habits are very easily influenced by friends and television advertising. Parents who have elementary schoolers should set a good example of healthy eating and serve nutritious food at home. You can be a bit more relaxed about food choices away from home. However, having said that, do try to order healthier dishes which contains a lot of grains and vegetables, and less of dishes containing high fat, high cholesterol ingredients. Order fruit juices instead of soft drinks or coloured and flavoured drinks. Younger school-going children do not need adult-size servings of food, but as the years progress their food intake will rise as puberty approaches. If your child is active in sports activities, they will have bigger appetites. As they learn about the human body and how food is used in their body, let them get involved in menu planning and grocery shopping.

“My wife and I are either going to buy a cat or have a child. We can’t decide whether to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives.”

Preteens: Preteen girls may be concerned about dieting and body image at this time. Preteen boys can eat an enormous amount of food, much of which comprises junk food and empty calories. They are exposed to trendy coffee and tea beverages which contain caffeine. Too much caffeine can cause jitteriness as well as insomnia if consumed too late in the day. Bear in mind, your preteen child still needs to fulfill basic nutritional needs. They also need the tradition and ritual involved in family meal times. Use this time to reconnect but never handle school or family issues, especially those that might lead to conflict. Handle such issues after the meal is over, so as not to spoil the mood of dining together.

“To me, there’s no such thing as a tough child – if you marinate them first for seven hours, they always come out tender.”

I hope that you have enjoyed this article , my next post will be ” How to turn junk food kids to healthy eating kids “


Chef Peter Pang

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