Our children count on us to lead the way to health and well being. They look to our habits and actions as written in stone. In other words they trust us. Are we honoring their trust in us by showing them the way to eat healthy food and stabilize at a healthy weight? Do we really want them to learn our habits and actions? We can tell our kids anything, but if we don't adapt health and well being in our own lives, these words will fall on deaf ears.
One way of teaching our kids the proper way of anything is showing them how it is done. A great time to start kids off is when they are young. Cooking With Kids Foundation has all inclusive classes that show our kids ages 4-10, the safe way to hold a knife without hurting themselves while chopping and slicing food. They have wonderful instructors that are trained by Chef Lynda Rexroat, a renowned chef that learned her trade in France and has brought her knowledge to us locally in order for the community to help fight the epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes.
The classes start with learning about the foods we eat. The kids color pictures of different healthy foods while the instructors explain what they are about in an interactive question and answer period with the kids. Kids know much more about what is good for them then we thought. As we all well know, knowing what is good for us and eating what is good for us are two very different things.
That's why Chef Lynda also shows each student how to make their healthy meals tasty and delicious by using great spices, herbs and cooking with love. Parents have also confided in Chef Lynda that when they are in the grocery store picking out foods, their children will often say "Chef Lynda says that is not a healthy choice".
Chef Lynda's process stays with our children. They remember and take their knowledge home to their families and are able to continue staying healthy long into adulthood. Many of the kids, have the opportunity to volunteer and instruct other children, which keeps this amazing Foundation moving forward into the future.
Chef Lynda Rexroat, Executive Director of Cooking with Kids Foundation, has been working and teaching for over fourteen years to improve the health of children in the Tri-valley area through her hands on cooking classes. Her classes, presented in schools and afterschool programs, offer children, preschool through early teens, the opportunity to select prepare and enjoy healthful snacks and meals that are easy, satisfying and affordable.
Chef Lynda believes that parents need to be on the front line defending their children against the current epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes that threaten American children today. According to Chef Lynda, children “take” to cooking naturally and enthusiastically eat what they prepare. The pilot programs conducted by CWKF over the past two years show that parents shopping enjoy shopping with their children watching them prepared food under Chef Lynda’s direction.
When the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) released its newest standards for school lunches on February 1, 2012, the first change in fifteen years, both parents and children alternately cheered and groaned. It seems we win a few and we lose a few...
The changes are primarily practical implementations of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Simply stated:
· Kids will be offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week, (Remember when catsup was classed as a vegetable?)
· Portions of whole grain-rich foods will be increased substantially
· Only fat-free and low-fat milk varieties will be offered
· Proper portion sizes for the age of the child served will control or limit calories
· Focus is on reducing the amounts of saturated fats, trans fats and sodium.
Most parents are already making some of these changes at home with varying degrees of success. So this is good, right? I think we need to look a bit deeper. Pizza can still be on the menu once a week, classed as a vegetable. French fries will be found, also no more than once a week. Some critics say these two foods were included because of pressure from such foods producers as ConAgra, Schwans and other – large suppliers of school lunch programs.
First Lady Michelle Obama announced the new meal standards during a guest appearance at Parklawn elementary school in Alexandria, Virginia. The President and the First Lady have advocated strongly for passing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, and USDA is now in step with them to focus on the twin issues of childhood obesity and hunger. Or should I say both the President and first Lady and the USDA are finally approaching Chef Lynda in focusing on children’s health.
Lou Ann Berardi
The Directors of Cooking with Kids all contribute to our Blog and each comes with a different skill set and point of view. Here you can find information on nutrition, cooking technique, tips to get kids to eat healthy and much more.