Ready, Set, Cook! Gives Kids the Tools They Need to Live Healthy Lives

This popular piece of advice is circulating in social media: “To my children: Never make fun of having to help me with computer stuff. I taught you how to use a spoon.”

It’s a funny observation, but it reminds us that parents have an important responsibility to ensure their kids learn how to eat right (and, yes, with the right utensils!).

For many years, HAP has helped elementary school children learn how to cook their own healthy meals with nutritious ingredients through its Ready, Set, Cook! program.

Ready, Set, Cook! brings families together in a way that promotes a healthier lifestyle by helping children learn to cook with ingredients that support the 5-2-1-0 program. Created and supported by national health organizations, the 5-2-1-0 program recommends five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, no more than two hours of screen time every day, at least one hour of active play each day and zero sugar-sweetened drinks. These recommendations are intended to help reduce the soaring rates of childhood obesity. In Michigan, nearly 20 percent of adolescents are overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, making this a critical health issue.

How does HAP make cooking healthy meals more family friendly?

First, it gets kids involved by teaching them basic information like which sweeteners are good and bad, how to read labels, how to cut, chop, dice and measure various ingredients, and how to understand a recipe and proper serving sizes.

Building upon that initial education, HAP nutrition experts offer a range of easy recipes kids can cook with some initial guidance from their parents — replacing time they might otherwise spend in front of the TV. The Ready, Set, Cook! recipe for healthy blueberry muffins is one example. It’s made with ingredients like almond flour, almond milk, honey and coconut oil, all healthy alternatives to traditional muffin ingredients. Other recipes from the program include healthy burrito bowls, a veggie grilled cheese sandwich and a simple fruit sorbet. We feature more than a dozen recipes on our website.

With a rewarding experience in the kitchen, children will take ownership of eating healthier meals and learn the cooking skills they need as they get older — leading to real health benefits. Don’t be surprised if your child starts asking for and eating more fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber, and also shows a greater willingness to try new foods.

So what are you waiting for? Get your kids cooking today.

Categories: Get Healthy, Get Involved