Food Science: Childhood Nutrition
At present I am taking a course through Stanford University online on the subject of childhood nutrition. To my surprise the highest consumed vegetable is potatoes sorry to say that it is in the form of French fries. This sad fact is compounded by the realities that childhood obesity rates as well as health disorder closely associated with obesity is moreover on the rise. It is predicted that in the US at least 40% of the population will be considered at or above the obesity level. This sobering statistic comes with the knowledge that the average household in the US throws away at least 50% of the food purchased on an annual basis.
I have been guilty of buying more food than need then simply throwing it away. By no means is it my intention to lecture anyone on health or food waste. Instead my desire is to offer an alternate way to view things. As a mother of two boys I am no stranger to fighting the good fight of trying to present a balanced healthy diet while attempting and failing sometimes to not make meal time a war zone. When my boys were very little I am guilty of hiding the vegetables in a cheese burger. A combination of 50/50 always worked. When they asked what is this green stuff I would respond, “fresh herbs”.
As they are getting older and making their own food choice on more than one occasion I have fallen into the nagging mom refrain, “ there are four basic food groups not one..eat your vegetables”. As an avid jogger and my going to the gym on a regular basis has luckily seem to rub off on my children which helps. Another point the Stanford course makes is that children do as we do. They mimic the behavior of parents. Here in Italy children’s menu don’t exist. Children here eat the same foods as what the adults eat. Taking your children shopping for food can help build healthy habits that can last a lifetime. In addition, allow your children to cook with you often will encourage them to try new foods while developing a lifelong healthy relationship with food.
This week I decided to explore condiments. It is not a secret that children enjoy dipping their food into something in the vein of ketchup. I made the mistake of teaching my boys how to make honey mustard. To this day I still must hide the honey or else I would be buying honey and mustard by the truckloads. I will save the story regarding homemade pizza and panni press for another day. Suffice to say that my boys food repertoire of things they like and make for themselves means my kitchen stays messy. I will share two recipes one for Tzatziki and another for Cinghiale-Rosemary compote. Both are delicious and because it is homemade you can stay on control of what goes into the food.
Bon vivant fellow Gastronomers!