My favourite #TEDtalk of all time – Teach every child about food by @JamieOliver

If I tell you this is the my favourite TEDTalk will you take the time to watch the video above? I hope you will but maybe you don’t have 20 minutes so I’ll give you the “Cole’s Notes” version of the video’s message in this post.

Are you a parent? How does it make you feel to know that your children might live 10 – 15 years less than you will? I’m a parent and it makes me feel sick to think this staggering fact could become my child’s reality. I’ve worked for 17 years to grow my child into a healthy human but my work’s not done yet. Before he leaves home, I’m determined he’ll be able to cook for himself, have a regular exercise habit and defy the statistics facing his generation.

Why is this generation at risk for dying at an earlier age than their parents? Because 60 per cent of our children are now overweight and obese and the diet-related diseases they are going to develop from this status are going to decrease their longevity. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that this is a completely preventable situation. The key is to connect our children with the food they eat and to give them the life skill of knowing how to cook as well as how much and what to eat.

Jamie Oliver started his “food revolution” in 2003. The video above was created in 2010. Oliver now organizes an annual Food Day Revolution to encourage food education for children around the world. Last year over 100 countries took part in the activity of creating a healthful sandwich together at school. The next Food Day Revolution is coming up May 20, 2016. You can volunteer here.

I’ve shared a really easy recipe for a polenta lasagna that I taught my son to make. There’s lots of ways to teach your child to cook.

I’ve organized my son’s learning with recipes that feature various basic cooking skills – shopping, chopping, boiling, sautéing, braising, grilling, baking, frying and stir-frying. I drag him along on grocery shopping and farmers’ market expeditions so he’ll learn to make a grocery list and shop from it. I’ve given him a salad recipe and taught him to chop. He sautees his own pasta sauce and boils the pasta. He bakes cookies, fries eggs, grills burgers on the barbecue and he’s even learned how to make a simple ricotta style cheese.

We’ve got a long way to go but at least we’ve made a start. If you cook your child a meal, they’ll eat well for a day. If you teach your child to cook they’ll eat well for life. Eat well, move your body daily and you and your children will be around to savour it all a lot longer.

Not sure how to teach your child to cook? The next post shares summer camps and cooking schools that will teach you, your child or the both of you how to cook.



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