I was watching this video by Jamie Oliver. I was actually quite amazed and saddened to say the least that those young children actually do not know the name of common fresh vegetables and fruits they are supposedly eating daily .
I am not sure where this segment was shot but I am using this as my topic for today's converstion.
While writing this article, I was wondering whether this is a one-off incident or there are children who actually have not seen those fresh vegetables before?
Several questions started to surface…
Have they tasted them before? Or they just did not know the names of the vegetables?
Are they not conscious of what they are eating? Or do they eat out of the frozen food section? Prepackaged food? Take-away? Canned food?
Do they actually know where their food come from? Do they know where their salad and potato chips come from?
I am thinking out loud … how can we overcome these issues. I would love to hear any suggestions from you and please share your thoughts so that we can support other parents .
In the meantime, here are 3 suggestions that I thought would be useful to encourage children’s exposure to raw ingredients, i.e. fresh produce.
1. Increase fresh produce consumption instead of canned or frozen food
Take your children shopping and shop from the outer aisles of the grocery shop, i.e. where you will find more fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, meat, seafood, fresh bakery and dairy sections, or better still purchase from your local green grocer.
If your child is young, place them in the shopping trolley and move slowly along the outer aisles. If you have an older child, allow them to push a child trolley on their own.
Use this opportunityt to talk to them, showing them different types of fresh produce, and allow them to take in the array of colours.
Encourage them to gently feel (not press) and smell the fresh produce on display, such as apples and vegetables, and teach them the names of the fruits and vegetables as you move along the aisles.
2 Set up a kids-friendly vegetable garden
Set up a child friendly vegetable garden as a great way to introduce vegetables to your children, such as tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, corns, beans, onions etc.
By planting their own vegetables, it allows the children to learn about where their vegetables come from, what they taste like, what they feel like and how they look. For example, they are also able to learn whether the tomatoes have ripened and when and how to harvest the lettuces, peas, corn etc.
3. Involve your children in the kitchen
When you involve your children in the kitchen, they will not only enjoy your company, they actually benefit from learning about using raw ingredients such as vegetables and creating dishes out of them.
One example is how to cook an omelette using eggs and bacon, or make a salad using onion, lettuce, peas or other salad ingredients that they like or talk about tomato sauce and how you use tomatoes to make tomato sauce.
Invite your children to to your grocery shopping trips, or set up their own vegetable garden, or involve them in your meal preparations. Only then will they will appreciate the fruits and vegetables they are eating, where they come from and how to create delicious dishes from those raw ingredients.