Kids should meet ve­g­ies

Get down and dirty and have fun in the kitchen and gar­den

Life & Style Weekend - - HOME - with Jody Allen Jody Allen is the founder of Stay At Home Mum: stay­ath­ome­mum.com.au.

EV­ERY­ONE likes to think they’re giving their kids the

ed­u­ca­tion they need to tackle the real world. But are we for­get­ting to ed­u­cate them about one of the most

im­por­tant things? Food sus­tains us. Three times a day we sit down and en­joy it in dif­fer­ent forms. I re­mem­ber a few years ago watch­ing an episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revo­lu­tion and was floored. Chil­dren in the first

grade failed to iden­tify a sin­gle veg­etable that the celebrity chef showed them. Could kids re­ally be so ig­no­rant about the food

they eat ev­ery day? At the same time, I re­mained a lit­tle smug. This video was shot in Amer­ica, surely kids in Aus­tralia would do bet­ter. Then I saw a study re­leased in part­ner­ship with Wool­worths and Jamie Oliver that made me think again.

The study took 1600 Aus­tralian kids aged be­tween six and 17 and tested them on their ba­sic knowl­edge of fruit and ve­g­ies. Of the 1600, an in­cred­i­ble 92% did not know that ba­nanas grew on

plants, 60% had no idea that herbs such as mint grew in the ground, and 70% weren’t able to say where su­gar ac­tu­ally came from. My fam­ily and I have just be­come a Friend of Ag, a new

ini­tia­tive be­ing run by AgForce Queens­land. The aim of the pro­gram is to make peo­ple liv­ing in cities more aware of the im­mense pos­i­tive im­pact that farm­ers have on their lives. So I wanted to give a few tips and ideas for par­ents wor­ried that their chil­dren weren’t get­ting the grass­roots ed­u­ca­tion they needed about food and where it came from.

◗ EAT VA­RI­ETY: One of the best ways to make kids knowl­edge­able about the rain­bow of fruits and vegeta­bles that we have available in Aus­tralia is to eat that rain­bow. Va­ri­ety is

the spice of life, and ad­ding lots of dif­fer­ent pro­duce op­tions into your diet is a great way to in­crease your child’s knowl­edge. ◗ EN­COUR­AGE PAR­TIC­I­PA­TION: Kids in the kitchen might seem like a dis­as­ter wait­ing to hap­pen, but it’s a re­ally great way to im­prove their knowl­edge of food.

◗ GROW A LIT­TLE, IF YOU CAN: If you’ve got a gar­den space or even a few lit­tle pots, grow­ing some pro­duce is a fun way that

kids can be ed­u­cated about and in­volved in the food they eat. With a veg­etable gar­den, they can see how pro­duce grows, how to har­vest it, and how to take care of it. ◗ DON’T SHY AWAY: Par­ents of­ten feel un­com­fort­able telling chil­dren the meat on their plate is the same meat that Peppa Pig

is made from. How­ever, avoid­ing this topic only makes it harder for them when the time comes for this news to be heard. Let

your kids ask all the ques­tions they want about their meat.

PHOTO: SEIYA KAWAMOTO

Do your kids know how the fruit and veg that end up on their plates is grown?

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