Unbeknownst to me, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics declared August “Kids Eat Right Month” four years ago. While it’s essential for kids to eat well year round, prioritizing it for an entire month can be just the right catapult to making it actually happen. It seems the perfect final lesson of summer before your kids head back to school—without them realizing they’re learning a single thing.
Just think about it: With the no-homework days of summer, you can casually pull your kids into the kitchen to help decipher recipes, measure and chop ingredients, and add seasonings for the finishing touch to your next meal. They’ll be reminded of some basic school lessons in the most life-giving way—by preparing nutritious food.
Any kitchen that provides for young bodies and minds should have a copy of The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children. In it, Suzanne Gross and Sally Fallon Morell speak to kids (and the parents raising them) about key elements of eating right. With each basic recipe, your kids are sure to gain the confidence they’ll need to move into their own kitchens down the road—I can’t think of a better lesson than that.
Dads can pull out their well-worn copy of Men in Kitchens: A Good Day to Dine Hard and whip up simple, fun, delicious dude dinners or breakfasts with the kids.
The added bonus here is that when your kids head back into the school year with a focus on making smart food choices, they’ll crave healthier food when they sit down in the school cafeteria as well. Whether they’ve packed their lunch from your own refrigerator or chosen from the school’s kitchen, they’ll remember the fresh flavors they helped create and enjoyed eating at home.
Of course, strong healthy kids don’t come from food alone—though it plays a key role in getting them there. Exercise and staying active on a daily basis are a highlight of “Kids Eat Right Month” too. Because it is critical for your entire family to get moving, finding a fun activity to do together is fan-flippin-tastic. An added perk is it can be hugely beneficial in more ways than just physical fitness, such as building stronger relationships and maintaining open lines of communication with your kids. However, there certainly isn’t any shame in everyone having their own favorite activity to do on their own.
What better way to approach the dog days of the season than feeling fit and well fed? Starting good eating and exercise habits is quite possibly the perfect final lesson of summer.
Image from iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund.