Monday's theme is "Be Healthy from the Start." Because good nutrition is so essential to child development and the prevention of childhood obesity, the APHA has recommended that public health professionals take the opportunity to encourage parents and childcare providers to engage children in healthy eating behaviors.
The Monday Campaigns' Kids Cook Monday, founded on the concept that healthy eating behaviors start with learning basic nutrition knowledge and cooking skills in the home, is lending support by offering a new resource, the Family Dinner Date newsletter.
"Teaching children about healthy eating through cooking nutritious foods together at home is one of the best tools we have to combat childhood obesity. Research also links regular family meals around the dinner table to healthier BMIs for adults and children alike. This newsletter will make it easier than ever for families to enjoy that experience together," says Diana Rice, The Kids Cook Monday's staff dietitian.
Each Family Dinner Date newsletter will package a family-friendly recipe and educational items such as how-to cooking videos, fun facts about the recipe's cuisine, and informative nutrition worksheets for kids. Parents will receive the recipe package on Fridays to allow for time to shop for ingredients over the weekend and start building excitement about their upcoming Monday night experience.
To help encourage families to be healthy from the start and make cooking together at home a regular habit, public health professionals can easily point community members towards these much-needed materials. Recipients can sign up for the recipe package by visiting The Kids Cook Monday's Facebook page. The first edition of the Family Dinner Date newsletter will launch in early April.
In addition to the new newsletter, the campaign also offers resources to help educators and public health professionals host community family cooking classes, including a toolkit on best practices for cooking with kids and an extensive collection of family-friendly recipes.
The Kids Cook Monday was developed through a collaboration with Teachers College, Columbia University. "This program provides families with enthusiasm and motivation to cook as a family - while teaching practical skills to shop for healthful foods, prepare recipes together, and make mealtime quality family time," said Dr. Pamela Koch, executive director of the Center for Food & Environment at Teachers College.
The Monday Campaigns is a nonprofit public health initiative associated with Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Its goal is to create a movement of individuals and organizations who join together every Monday to commit themselves to health. The first initiative, Meatless Monday, can now be found in over 30 countries in a range of settings including schools, hospitals, restaurants and whole communities. The organization now has campaigns to address other health behaviors including physical activity, tobacco cessation, children's nutrition and overall wellness.
For more on the campaign, visit TheKidsCookMonday.org.
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