Friday, November 24, 2017

Teach your kids to cook…

ImageAria Farm takes lead role in the battle for family health

Urgent calls from government agencies and family welfare organisations for more work to be done with regard to obesity in children has prompted a Waikato food manufacturer to take a leading role in the battle for health.

Aria Farm director Anna Arndt says an important a first step to healthy generations of Kiwi families is to teach kids to cook. And with simple, healthy recipes this would be a major step in improving New Zealand's unattractive obesity rate through children and adults.

In Anna's household each of her three children are asked to cook a meal once a week.
"It doesn't just happen overnight as the kids need to be taught but quite quickly they are happy to be left alone to cook their creations," said Anna. "It's a great way to assist with a busy household and stops the temptation to rush out and buy fast food which is at the heart of the problem in many cases."

The process begins with choosing an evening that fits with the children's after school activities.
Anna recommends that the 'cook' is left alone unless they ask for help. They don't make many mistakes and in her case over four years there have only been two meals that were inedible.

"One where a cup of chicken stock powder was used instead of a cup of liquid," she said.
Learning to cook healthy meals that include meat or fish, veges and carbohydrate on a regular basis is an experience that will stay with the child for ever and hopefully they will pass the ethic on to their children.
"If families respond to the call to 'teach your kids to cook', in just a generation we could have healthy families and much less heart disease and illnesses associated with obesity," said Anna.

Why is this so wonderful for children?
Anna says they learn to cook and serve a meal. They plan a balanced meal and become creative with ingredients on hand.

From this basic life skill they get a sense of achievement, especially as they are preparing a meal that they like.
For parents it's a chance to have a five minute breather after arriving home without even having to worry about what to cook.

And when it's the parent's turn to cook it's more enjoyable as they've had a couple of days off.
Aria Farm website has the formula and some simple recipes to kick-start this healthy family programme.

Aria Farm products include chicken, lamb and beef strips and lamb medallions.

1. Anna Arndt, director Aria Farm, passionate about teaching kids to cook.
2. Keen to learn to cook are Sean Rudman (foreground) stir frying a batch of Aria Farm Chicken Strips assisted by Heidi Arndt, preparing the vegetables for the stir fry dish. Both are under the watchful eye of Anna Arndt who is keen to see obesity in Kiwi kids drop away by teaching them to cook healthy meals for the whole family.