Nutrition experts reveal 12 essential food stills every Australian child needs for healthier lifetime eating habits.
Australian children have more access to information on healthy eating than ever before, yet busy family lifestyles and ‘convenience culture’ are eroding opportunities for children to learn essential skills that support healthier dietary patterns that may hold the key to better lifetime physical and mental health outcomes.
That’s why the nutrition experts at Sanitarium Health Food Company have joined forces with dietitian Themis Chryssidis and Masterchef™ fan favourite Callum Hann from Adelaide’s acclaimed Sprout Cooking School to develop a new initiative to help children shop, prep, cook and eat their way to a healthier life.
Called 12 before 12, the initiative encourages families to empower primary-school aged children around meal selection and food preparation. It challenges children to learn 12 essential food skills before they turn 12 years old, with the aim of making healthy eating easier and enjoyable for life.
Grouped into four key areas, the 12 before 12 skills cover the complete food journey from planning meals and choosing nutritious options at the shops, through to the hands-on tools and techniques children need in the kitchen and the social behaviours that make mealtimes a positive experience for the whole family.
Pick a few tasty and nutritious recipes, add the ingredients to the shopping list and zoom around the supermarket to grab it all. Have one ingredient in each food category, and some of the same ingredients across each recipe to avoid wastage. Stocking up on ingredients such as nuts or oats can be used to make a delicious crunchy breakfast, while also used to make those yummy afternoon snacks.
Read and understand a nutrition label in minutes and use this information to decide which foods you will cook with and eat. Understand what foods are high in fibre, what foods are great for energy and what foods are a great source of protein to grow up big and strong.
Know what is in season and make recipes to hero those foods! Discover what foods have a longer shelf life than others, and how you can choose foods to be used in numerous ways when planning your meals. Tips and tricks on how to tell when a certain food is ready to eat, like the avocado!
Know how to measure your ingredients accurately based on the recipe and have the right equipment on hand to do so i.e. measuring cups. Learn the difference between ounces and grams, tsp and tbsp and become a whizz at measuring without wastage.
Ensure your kitchen is always safe for operation (non-slip boards, sharp blades and sinks, fire). Keep you and your friends and family happy and healthy! Cross contamination, temperature control, personal hygiene.
Chop like a boss
Know how to slice, dice, grate and peel. Understand differences between chopping technique and what is best for certain foods. For example, how to chop a capsicum without getting seeds everywhere!
Master the cooktop and learn to pan fry, stir fry and grill. Discover how to differentiate oven symbols so you are baking and grilling like a pro.
Cook up a feast in good measure while learning to minimise food wastage by using ingredients in multiple ways.
We eat with our eyes, so release the creativity of your inner artist onto your plate. Eat the rainbow!
Mix up your meals like your favourite DJ while building awareness of portion size and eliminate food waste. We eat with our eyes, but sometimes these are bigger than our stomachs.
Wait for everyone else to be seated before you start eating. Chew with your mouth closed, use please and thank you if you need something from the other side of the table, and don’t have a screen in front of you. Once you’re finished, help wash up!
Put aside quality time at the table to show off your food skills. A shared meal has the power to bring the whole family together – the secret ingredient is a sprinkle of love.