Start a New Tradition During the Winter Holidays
By Mary Kathryn Poole, MPH, program director, Let’s Move Pittsburgh
Many choose to celebrate the holidays with their family and friends over a traditional meal. For parents and caregivers, family meals can also be the perfect time to have a conversation with children about healthy choices. Plus, with children being home from school, there is a chance to spend more time engaging in fun, educational activities together as a family that you can repeat in a creative way every year. Here are some ideas from Let’s Move Pittsburgh to add healthy fun into your holiday:
Kids in the Kitchen
Getting kids involved in the kitchen provides them with skills and memories that will last a lifetime. Not only will your kids learn about your cooking techniques, but they will also become more familiar with foods and spices. Cooking can be a playful experience, as well, and playtime is critical to the social and emotional well-being for children.
So what can kids do in the kitchen? From preparation to cleaning, there are a variety of ways kids of all ages can be helpful and learn at the same time. For example, 2 year olds can help with wiping tables, tearing lettuce or greens, and rinsing produce. Three years olds can mix ingredients in a bowl, knead dough, and mash potatoes. Four year olds can crack eggs, set the table, and measure dry ingredients. Ages 5 and up can measure liquids and beat eggs. Click here to see a full resource on cooking with kids by age group. You may also find our resource on basic cooking concepts to be useful when talking to kids about cooking.
Interested in learning more about cooking with kids? Attend our 5-2-1-0 in Your Kitchen event on January 12 to hear from the experts!
Photograph from Giant Eagle
Read Your Way to 5-2-1-0
If you have down time on your holiday or want to add some entertainment to your meal preparation, try out our Read Your Way to 5-2-1-0 book list. Developed by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, this reading list features a range of books related to nutrition and/or physical activity that are suitable for children from birth to grade five. Check out some of the list’s highlights, here:
Birth – Pre-K
- "From Head to Toe" by Eric Carle
Readers are encouraged to exercise by following the movements of various animals. The story is presented in a question and answer format.
- "Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z" by Lois Ehlert
Take an alphabetical tour of the world of fruits and veggies — from apricot and artichoke to yam and zucchini.
- "Cook It Together" by Annabelle Karmel
Taking 10 common ingredients that kids love — including tomatoes, potatoes, and chocolate — this cookbook explains where each food comes from and how it’s made. It also offers 20 healthy, easy-to-follow recipes.
Photograph from Cory Doman
Kindergarten to Grade 2
- "Our Food: A Healthy Serving of Science and Poems" by Grace Lin
Learn about the five food groups and the benefits of nutritional eating.
- "Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table" by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Former basketball star Will Allen became an urban farmer and activist. Discover how his vision of gardening from abandoned urban sites led to a grassroots feeding craze.
- "On the Ball" by Brian Pinkney
Owen loves soccer, but isn’t the best at playing it. He soon discovers that he has more skills than he realized.
- "You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses" by Tae-Eun Yoo
Children pretend to be many different animals as they do various yoga poses.
Grades 3 to 5
- "Go Out and Play! Favorite Outdoor Games from Kaboom!"
This guide lists more than 70 classic and contemporary playground games, and provides instructions for favorites, such as kick the can, freeze tag, and sardines. It also includes tips for adults on how to encourage and facilitate outdoor play.
- "Garden to Table: A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing and Preparing Food" by Catherine Hengel
Learn how to grow, harvest, and cook homegrown foods.
- "ChopChop: The Kids’ Guide to Cooking Real Food with Your Family" by Sally Sampson
Children and parents can make these simple, healthy, and delicious dishes together.
Check out the full reading list here. Thank you to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for this wonderful resource!
Have a happy holiday season!
This article is an effort of Let’s Move Pittsburgh’s 5-2-1-0 initiative to help Pittsburgh’s youth practice 5-2-1-0 — 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity, and 0 sugary drinks and more water — every day!
Learn more at letsmovepittsburgh.org/5210. Let’s Move Pittsburgh, a collaborative program of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, with the generous support of UPMC Health Plan and the Hillman Foundation, provides Southwestern Pennsylvania’s children and their caregivers with the knowledge, tools, and support needed to make nutritious food choices and lead active lifestyles. Learn more at letsmovepittsburgh.org and on Facebook and Twitter.