Health and Nutrition Concerns for Families

People on tight budgets sometimes choose take-out or quick-order meals rather than preparing food at home. They may think it is cheaper and quicker to go out to catch a bite to eat. Then, when they do, it may only be a matter of “filling up”, or eating to be satisfied, rather than savoring the food.

Eating out may, or may not be cheaper and quicker. It may, however, impact health, and waistlines. People who eat out frequently may be eating higher calorie foods. Quite possibly they may also be eating more food than is necessary since many servings are super-sized.

Healthful cooking doesn’t have to take longer nor cost more than take-out. With a little planning, this can be done. Cooking at home may even increase life expectancy and the total health of your family. Many families choose to eat out because they haven’t learned how to cook a basic meal. They may not have been interested or were never encouraged or exposed to cook. People who grew up cooking for the family may find this hard to believe. Yet it is true.

In order to stay healthy, people need to know how to prepare nutritious meals. This can start in the home at a young age. Kids love to mix and stir and create. In the past parents could look to the public school system to teach and reinforce cooking skills. Many of these programs that teach basic skills have been eliminated. For examples of other life skills needed, consider that everyone lives in some kind of house or dwelling and they need to know how to care for it. Everyone is a consumer of goods and services. Everyone wears clothing. We all interact with people and need to know how to get along. Parents have a huge responsibility of teaching their children these basic life skills.

Children need to be encouraged to help in the kitchen and get food on the table. Many young kids now watch TV cooking shows. This gets them interested and exposed to many ways of cooking. Young people need and want to know how to do prepare food. Many are also concerned about nutrition and body image.

Parents can help children have worthwhile experiences in the kitchen. Here are basic cooking skills to learn:

How to read recipes.
How to use equipment and appliances.
How to prepare fruits and vegetables, eggs, and meats.
How to boil, bake, roast, fry, broil, saute, etc.
How to plan meals for the whole day.
How to shop for food.
How to store food properly.
How to keep the food preparation area clean.
How to organize work and use time management.
How to stay safe in the kitchen.

As you can see, if a family wants to eat healthy, someone is going to have to spend some serious time in the kitchen. Eating fast-food or pre-packaged foods may be contributing not only to an expanded waistline but other health complications as well. Give kids a life-long appreciation for healthy, nutritious food and the skills they need to prepare and enjoy it.