October 14, 2012
In my junior high and high school days, we still had home economics classes. Even at that time, the days of home-ec was starting to become nonexistent in schools. I feel fortunate that I had classes that taught me how to manage a household. I was able to develop skills of self-sufficiency. With schools forced to cut programs in an effort to save money, many children our graduating high school without even knowing how to fix a homemade meal. So what can we do about it?
Get your children involved in household chores and help them become knowledgeable about healthy meals. Did you know that you can enter your child who is between the ages of 8 and 18 in 4-H? 4-H is a University of Illinois Extension program that provides a chance for children to learn new things, develop new skills, travel to new places, experience new situations, make new friends, and most importantly have fun. Children can sign up for certain projects of interest, including cooking, clothing and textiles, child development, and health and fitness. Taking a project of interest gives a child a chance to "learn by doing."
Personally, I don't believe that I would have gone into the field of Nutrition to become a Registered Dietitian without my experiences in 4-H. It not only taught me the skills needed to succeed in the kitchen, but it also gave a shy girl the confidence to speak and teach others in a public setting. To learn more about 4-H, visit our Illinois 4-H website, or call your local extension office.
If your children are not at the age to enroll in 4-H, check out other resources to connect them to nutrition and health. I recently came across a really neat website called ViviLeDish. Designed for 3-8 year olds, this dynamic website includes over 200 child-friendly recipes, including some from celebrity chefs like Guy Fieri, Food Network's star host of "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives." This is a great tool to help children learn different types of produce. And I especially love that it teaches children that certain foods should be "sometimes" food and others can be "anytime" food. Meet Vivi and her pantry full of healthy foods and fun activities to bring the all-important home economics back into the lives of your children.
You and your children will love this easy dessert recipe. It's what I believe Vivi and I both would call a "sometimes" dish!
5 caramels, unwrapped
1 tablespoon milk (skim or 1%)
2 tablespoons granola cereal
Combine caramels and milk in 1-cup glass measure. Microwave (high), uncovered, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until caramels are melted, stirring once. Cool slightly. Peel and slice bananas into 2 individual serving dishes. Pour caramel mixture over bananas. Sprinkle each with granola. Serve warm.
Yield: 2 servings
Nutrients Per Serving: 248 Calories, 4 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 52 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams dietary fiber, 62 milligrams sodium, 1 milligram cholesterol