Last night I watched Jamie Oliver present his TED Prize Wish. As a 2010 TED Prize winner Jamie's wish was to teach every child about food, or more specifically, “I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”
I believe he's on the right track, today's youth need more exposure to food and cooking basics. Kids (and adults) need to have a better sense of where food comes from and how to feed themselves without resorting to pre-made, pre-packaged, drive-thru windows, or nightly take-out.
Over time, we are working with more and more young women at Green Mountain at Fox Run. I am often surprised at how many young people I meet have limited cooking skills and VERY limited exposure to whole foods. One trend I notice are more and more picky eaters who don't like (or have never tried) numerous vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and on occasion even fruits. This is not a good trend.
As adults we must continue to expose the children in our lives to wholesome foods. Teach them about variety and trying new things. And if at first we don't succeed, try, try again. Children also need to be taught basic cooking skills. Here at Green Mountain we offer weekly cooking classes and do encourage our participants to try new foods. It does help many women expand the variety in their intake, but starting this process during childhood greatly increases the likelyhood of developing a life-long healthy relationship with food.
I'm curious about the ways you parents (aunts/uncles) out there have taught the children in your lives about where food comes from, variety, and basic cooking skills. I'm always looking for new ideas since I have 3 young children in my life who I want to grow up happy, healthy, and loving a wide variety of wholesome foods.