Rabu, 28 Juli 2010

Teach Your Child to Like the Taste of Fresh Food

By Julia Moravcsik, PhD, author of Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food

Strawberries picked right off the vine, bread still warm from the oven, steak sizzling from the grill. There’s something truly delicious about fresh food.

Fresh foods are delicious, and also nutritious. Most plants lose nutrients after they’ve been picked. The tastes of old food – rancidity, rottenness, staleness – tend to repel people. The reason for this is obvious. Old food is low in nutrients and high in microbes.

The taste of fresh food can be a powerful ally. One of your child’s greatest enemies in his food education is processed food. Processed food companies have perfected foods that are bland, sugary, fatty, and that appeal to children. As with cigarettes, if children learn to like processed foods when they are young, they will be buying similar processed food when they are adults. The processed food companies will have a customer for life.

However, processed food companies cannot duplicate the taste of fresh produce and home cooked meals because their food is not fresh. Even the newest foods in the supermarket have probably been away from the factory for at least a week.

Processed food companies try to make up for the lack of real food taste by appealing to the sweet-fat-bland tastes. Even though the food doesn’t really taste good, children who are fed processed food learn to like the insipid flavors because they are familiar, and because they associate them with the food’s addictive qualities.

If you feed your child fresh, tasty food, he will find the processed food repugnant. Since most processed food is unnutritious and has repetitive ingredients, this repugnance will help him avoid some of the biggest nutritional enemies in our modern culture.

Fruits and vegetables taste especially good when they are fresh. Children who balk at lifeless supermarket broccoli may love the vivid taste of fresh picked broccoli.

Tips and Techniques

Most of your meals should be home-cooked. If you aren’t skilled in cooking, you can learn by doing – start with a few easy recipes and slowly increase your repertoire.

Find recipes that are quick and easy. Quickly sautéing some vegetables and adding some eggs and cheese to make scrambled eggs with vegetables doesn’t really take much longer than microwaving a breakfast meal.

Eat at restaurants that serve real, fresh food from basic ingredients. Avoid fast-food restaurants (you don’t want to teach your child to like the taste of fast food) and cheap chain restaurants (they often have processed ingredients delivered to them).

Use the freshest vegetables that you can. Buy local produce in season. Go to a farmer’s market.

Sign up for community supported agriculture. With community supported agriculture, you buy a share of a farm at the beginning of the growing season. Each week, you’ll receive a delivery of tasty fresh vegetables.

Experiment with growing your own vegetables. Nothing is tastier than fresh peas or tomatoes off the vine.

Want to learn more techniques?
25 Ways to Get Your Child to Love Vegetables

Would you like a simple, easy-to-follow program that will teach your child to love healthy food? See my new book Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food on amazon.com.

Follow my blog Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food

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