Nutrition

Are you raising a food-savvy kid?

Author: Canadian Living

Nutrition

Are you raising a food-savvy kid?

Is your child growing up to be a food lover? Aware of table manners? Smart about healthy eating habits? Take this simple quiz to find out if he's learning food skills that will serve him well into adulthood, or if he needs some help getting food savvy.

Quick. Call your kid over and ask what her fave foods are. Ok, her favourites…
1. Came from a few different food groups
2. Came from just two different couple food groups
3. What can I say: she lives for dessert

When being introduced to new foods, my child
1. Will usually try at least one bite of something
2. Will try something if it smells familiar
3. Won't give it try -- ever

We take our child with us to different ethnic restaurants
1. Sometimes
2. On occasion
3. Never, we stick with Kelsey's and McDonald's

Does your child have a favourite type of sushi (cooked or vegetarian options included)?
1. Yes
2. Not really
3. She has never tried sushi, or any Japanese food for that matter

I involve my kids in grocery shopping by
1. Encouraging them to pick some of our groceries (subject to my nutritional approval, of course)
2. Letting them select their breakfast cereal
3. Letting them pick one treat at the checkout counter if they behave

We refer to wholesome food and junk food in my home as
1. “Everyday food” and “sometimes food”
2. “Healthy food” and “not-healthy food”
3. “Good food” and “junk food”

We go on food-related outings like summertime orchard visits, berry-picking expeditions, or even fishing and wild-food foraging (ie. fiddleheads, wild blueberries)
1. Seasonally
2. Occasionally
3. Um, no: isn't that what supermarkets were created to help us avoid?!

My child and I sometimes embark on cooking projects together like
1. Preparing a weekend supper dish together
2. Baking cookies from scratch
3. Decorating ready-to-bake cookies

Does your child use cutlery in an age-appropriate fashion (ie. a preschooler becoming familiar with a spoon and fork; a grade schooler using those plus a table knife, in the proper fashion; a high schooler with all the previous plus chopsticks)?
1. Yes
2. Yes, with a bit of help or encouragement from us
3. No, but it's not a big deal -- who's keeping track at Swiss Chalet anyway?

Page 1 of 2 -- Find out your results on page 2

If you answered mostly 1s:
You've got one food-savvy kid! While in some urban centres, it can seem almost like a form of competitive-parenting one-upmanship (“My daughter loves kappa maki sushi!” “Oh, really, mine is more into dim sum.”), and that's baggage kids don't need, raising sophisticated eaters is a good thing.

Kids who have a larger roster of foods they eat are more likely to consume a wholesome diet, and are likely to grow up to be curious, passionate food lovers. Encourage them by flipping through cookbooks together and picking recipes to try, and see if they want to take an advanced table etiquette class for fun. After all, they've probably got some four-star restaurants they want to try!

If you answered mostly 2s:
Your kids are relatively open-minded when it comes to food (relatively speaking -- we are talking about kids after all). Encourage their curiousity by getting them involved in grocery shopping (they can prepare their own list of healthy snack and lunch foods), talking about healthy food choices, and getting them psyched up about trying new foods.

One fun way to is to tie dinner foods, whether homemade or restaurant, to a vacation destination your kids love. Do they love Florida? Try some real Cuban-inspired Miami cuisine, or classic Floridian blue-crab cakes.

If you answered mostly 3s:
It may be time to start taking some baby steps toward breaking out of that McNuggets rut. At the supermarket, get your kids involved in selecting groceries. An easy way to let them go wild is in the fruit section, where you both can be inspired to try something new, no cookbooks required.

Also, try different restaurants. There's no reason why your child can't try Indian food, for instance. Sure, many kids won't like the spicy dishes, but most will love naan bread fresh from the tandoor oven, or crispy papadam. Most buffets include salads (non spicy) and fresh fruit options, so your little one will have plenty to eat. The important thing is exposing them to new cuisines. Also, exposure to restaurants other than fast food outlets has the added benefit of reinforcing table manners (better now than at your cousin's fancy wedding reception!).

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