It’s fun to find a dad’s eyes and a mom’s smile on a toddler’s face, and when I can figure out the sisters in a group just by their mannerisms, I feel proud, like I just solved a puzzle. The sensitive me always notices a dad carrying a baby and wishes I could reverse time and hold my kids at that young age one more day. The professional me is quick to note when one kid appears thin and athletic and the other looks round and soft. Same gene pool. Same food in the fridge. Same access to exercise and likely similar lifestyles.
We often think those small bad habits in the kitchen are no big deal. But it’s the little things that can lead to food-borne illness. In honor of Food Safety Month (September!), here are five less-than-squeaky-clean practices worth quitting.
The Habit: reusing grocery bags
A survey conducted by the Home Food Safety program found that 85 percent of Americans aren’t washing their reusable grocery bags. The problem: Raw foods, including meat, chicken and eggs, leave potentially harmful bacteria inside those totes. And those bacteria can be transferred to produce if the same bag is reused without being cleaned. Read more
Kids who lend a hand in the kitchen are more likely to make healthy food choices, according to a recent University of Alberta study.
The Canadian university surveyed fifth graders in 151 schools to learn about kids’ cooking experiences and food choices. “Kids who like fruits and vegetables more tend to eat them more frequently and have better diets,” said lead author Yen Li Chu, a post-doctoral fellow in the School of Public Health, in a recent interview. “These data show that encouraging kids to get involved in meal preparation could be an effective health promotion strategy for schools and parents.”
For the most part, children preferred fruits to vegetables, but those who helped with the cooking at home showed a greater preference for both, with a 10 percent higher interest in vegetables compared to their non-cooking counterparts. The research also showed those “who did meal prep and cooking were more confident about the importance of making healthier food choices,” according to the same article.
Kid-Friendly Recipes (to make with your kids!):
Tell us: Do you cook with your kids?
Lots of folks want to cook more often, they just aren’t sure how to go about doing it. Our 5 must-know tips will help you get fast, fresh and healthy meals on the table without the stress.
1.) Gather Recipes
Place a folder in your kitchen in an easily accessible spot. As you come across intriguing recipes, add them your must-try pile. Read through them from start to finish and pay attention to prep and cooking times – cap it to 45 minutes or less for weeknight meals.
Undercooked food just makes me sick! Literally. Lots of other people, too. Most folks blame food illnesses on a stomach bug or the flu, but often the cause is your own food. A thermometer is good weapon for killing off pesky food bacteria.