Spoonfed reached a milestone last week: six months of blogging and building community around the idea of raising kids to be thinking eaters. And what a community it is. I’ve been blown away by the response to this blog. The many (many) visits, comments and wide-ranging conversations tell me Spoonfed has struck a nerve, and that’s gratifying in a way I couldn’t have imagined when I started giving voice to the blog in March.
My heartfelt thanks to all the readers who’ve spent time with Spoonfed these past months. It’s been a wild ride. And now we’re going to celebrate with a giveaway. Or two, actually.
Nicole Johnson, founder of a line of fruit- and veg-themed pajamas called New Jammies, noticed the community developing at Spoonfed and got in touch about giving away a gift set. She’s usually the one approached by bloggers — not the other way around — but Nicole likes the Spoonfed mindset and thought readers would appreciate a giveaway. How cool is that?
And I’m giving away a copy of the young readers edition of Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” (which I blogged about here). Pollan’s work has been influential in how I’ve come to think about food, shaping my daughter’s experiences as well. (Pollan even got a mention in my first post.) The young readers edition breaks his definitive book down to basics, so it’s a great read not only for school-aged kids, but for anyone who wants a primer on the consequences of our food decisions.
So what do you have to do to win? Leave a comment answering this question: Why is it important to teach kids to think critically about food?
I’ll take comments through midnight EST next Wednesday, Sept. 29. After that, I’ll use a random-number generator to select two winners. One will get the Pollan book. The other will get the organic-cotton New Jammies gift set, which includes a drawstring bag, picture book and two-piece pajamas in the winner’s choice of size (12 months to 6 years) and pattern (carrots, peas, blueberries or tangerines).
Though Spoonfed has many international readers (at last count, you’ve come from 71 countries!), I’m afraid prizes can be shipped to continental U.S. and Canadian addresses only.
One final note: If you enjoy Spoonfed but aren’t yet a subscriber, I’d love it if you’d click up in the right-hand corner and start getting posts by e-mail or RSS feed. That won’t give you an edge for the giveaways, but you’ll get karmic bonus points for making me smile.
Update on Sept. 30: The giveaways have ended and comments are now closed. Thanks so much to everyone who participated. Winners are listed here.
Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2010 Christina Le Beau
Hm, a lot of reasons come to mind why we should teach children to think critically about food… but one that kinda reasonates with me a lot is that if we can teach them to critically think about food – what goes in to their bodies and how it affects them – they can use that ability to think critically about a lot of other issues facing them and their world. And heck, if they’re eating well, they’re probably able to think well, and maybe they’ll actually solve some problems!
Congrats to you, Christina! Thanks for your work.
Because the food they think about today is the food they’ll eat as adults. Healthy kids, healthy adults, healthier nation. One of these Spoonfed kids could be the next director of the FDA….the first one that actually creates a healthy and safe food supply here in the US instead of being influenced by politics.
I do a lot of health writing and whenever I interview a doctor they talk about how childhood obesity is on the rise. Kids who are in elementary school are being diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes (conditions that you typically see in older adults). I think ensuring that our kids get a good nutrition education is so important and teaching them how to make smart food choices at a young age will help them to become healthy adults. Keep up the good work on Spoonfed!
If kids learn how to make good food choices when they are young, they have a priceless gift to carry with them for the rest of their lives. Thanks for helping me to think more critically about food so I can pass on new habits to my kids! Fantastic blog!
Like all things, one of he most important things for kids to think critically about is food! Why? If kids can think for themselves by knowing food, deciphering labels, reading books and (much) later reading studies not only will they help increase their knowledge on what is healthy for them to eat but they will also set an example for other kids (and adults when they become them).And as they say (to use a cliche) knowledge is power . If kids are able to know and think what is good for them and (quite importantly to) enjoy what is good for them, that will also give kids a good relationship with food and they will associate food with nourishment. A good diet is so powerful in helping to produce a healthy happy life so teaching kids to think critically as I’m sure your readers are very much aware of.
Happy 6 months of blogging! Well done! Keep up the great work Christina.
Nb: I know I can’t really enter because I’m in Australia, but i just wanted to add my answer anyway.
Sadly, if we don’t teach our children to think critically about food, their perspectives will be distorted by:
1) The food industry giants who will teach them to choose their food according to their favourite colours, beloved television personalities or the latest movie
2) Teachers and other caregivers who train them to behave well because they will receive treats in exchange for their cooperation
3) Restaurants that will persuade them that they should only eat food from a menu created especially for them
4) Television shows that will show them popular kids who eat fast food and drink soda or coffee
5) Stores that will entice them to eat foods with the highest mark-up rather than what is good for their bodies
6) Pharmaceutical companies that will encourage them to lose weight by taking pills
7) Other people who don’t understand or don’t care that a great deal of the food that they buy is mostly manufactured rather than grown.
If we don’t give them the tools to think critically, how can they stay healthy?
We need to teach our kids to think critically about food so they can understand what the healthy foods are and why the unhealthy foods should be limited or eliminated from their diet. I want my kids to grow up understanding how most animals are treated and what happens along the way from field to plate, for animals and plant foods. Diet is one of the things we learn early from exposure to how we eat and how we are raised. If I want my kids to have a healthy understanding of food to take with them as adults.
We have a teen-age g/daughter who has moved in with us. She doesn’t care to read about healthy eating; but this book would be a requirement in this household. Maybe it will help her to understand why there is no junk food in this household. 🙂
There are so many reasons to teach kids about food, butI think one of the key things is so that they won’t have to “unlearn” bad eating habits when they are older. I love my parents, but my breakfast growing up was either Poptarts or sugary cereal, and school lunches were coldcuts on Wonder Bread, chips/Cheetos, a “juice” box, and Little Debbie dessert. Everything was super-processed and not very nutritional, and it’s taken a lot of re-education in my 20’s and 30’s to realize a variety of whole foods, minimally processed is the best bet. My 2-year-old has already gone to a farm to pick peas and strawberries in the spring, picked blueberries and blackberries and dug potatoes and carrots in the summer, and is about to go apple and pumpkin-picking this fall. By teaching him to eat fresh and seasonally from the beginning, I hope he’ll be off to a healthy start in life!
Food is a part of everyone’s day. It powers your body. It is important for kids to understand what foods fuel active bodies best. It will make them more interested in trying new healthy foods!
it’s one way we can fight our system and break the cycle of unhealthy habits. Plus, eating healthy foods is FUN!!!
What a wonderful to get the word out there about healthy eating! We practice very healthy eating habits with our 3 year old and 1 year old daughters, and I am so excited to get more creative ideas from your blog.
I can’t wait to read further, and hope to contribute some of my own ideas!
Keep up the great work!!
It’s so important, not only so they can eat as healthy as possible but also because it teaches them to see through marketing. Being able to separate marketing hype from truth is a fundamental skill that will help them in all areas of life.
It is important to teach kids to think critically about food because they need to understand the importance of food and their overall health. My mom used to always tell us if you put bad fuel in a car how could you expect it to perform well, the same goes for food in us. If we eat bad food how can we expect our bodies to be at peak performance. We are past the generation of eat whatever because the FDA says it good, it is now up to us to teach out kids how to forage once again to find the good quality foods.
It’s also important to teach kids to think critically about food and how it is produced because the way we currently produce food is responsible for at least a quarter of global greenhouse emissions. Also, scientific and empirical evidence are finding that organic, sustainable agriculture and localised food and energy systems can potentially mitigate more than 50 percent of global greenhouse emission and energy use. See http://www.i-sis.org.uk/OAMCC.php and http://www.i-sis.org.uk/mitigatingClimateChange.php
So, teaching children (and everyone else) about supporting organic, sustainable and localized food is probably the most important thing we can do to address global climate change.
Because I won’t(and don’t want to) always be there to choose for him.
Why is it important to teach kids to think critically about food?
Because they grow up! They will be making their own choices one day and not always have mom or dad saying “eat this and not that”. But because they want to fit into the “in crowd” they will want to eat that junk food and live on nachos and soda. But because you trained them correctly they will know that this will not fulfill their tummies and they will need to eat the proper foods to grow and nurture their bodies into adulthood.
It’s important to teach kids to think critically about food because the way food is harvested, handled and distributed has changed so much, we can’t assume anything, and neither can they.
Critical thinking is rarely consciously taught and it’s our job as parents to do it! So much of our time is spent thinking about food – if we aren’t mindful about what we are putting in our mouths and choosing to think about regarding food then we are at a loss on many fronts! I want my child to think about what is best for him when making decisions about what to do, this includes what he puts in his body for fuel or pleasure. The discipline of mindful eating and consumption will carry through to all areas of his life, thought processes and decision making. I lacked this and had to develop it as an adult and it is much harder and I have learned the hard way just how vital it is to my person, well being, and body. I want to give my children a head start and an advantage in life by teaching to think critically about how and what we eat and why. I want them to understand the differences between marketing, packaging, and truth; to know what is truly healthy, to know what is an indulgence, to understand self-control, and to know what it means to eat locally, organic, responsibly. A LOT of info that needs to be consistent and still fun! A big challenge and one that keeps me in line too!
I am not an industry conglomerate or corporate interest. I am just a mom, wife, animal livestock farmer, and owner/operator of a slaughterhouse/meat processing plant. I fully believe in critical thinking. In order to teach my children to think critically, it is my responsibility as a mom to provide them with hands on factual information. They then have the tools they need to decide on issues that matter most to them. It seems to me that hands on actual knowledge may be missing here. I’d be honored to share my hands on experience with farming & meat processing and how that meat ends up on the plate.
If critical thinking is your goal, please consider following me on twitter at @KyFarmersMatter, connect with me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/johnscustommeats, or contact me directly http://www.johnscustommeats.com. I have a blog, but seldom use it. It is located at http://johnscustommeats.blogspot.com/
We have been teaching our daughter to grow and preserve and cook food since she was a toddler. She needs to not take food for granted–it’s our most precious need and resource.
It is important to teach kids about food…Gosh, where do I start. Most importantly is the future of America. The child obesity epedemic. The Farming Crisis. I think it is important to teach kids a grass roots way of living. We have lost it. Genetically Modified foods, where did this come from? Farming, community, family and sustainability. If we do not have farms, we do not have food. Teaching kids about healthy eating and more importantly about what they are eating and where it comes from, and teaching them how to grow their own food will be a great start to a better tomorrow.
Because food is central to everything. My five year old already knows how food makes her feel (she has several food allergies and is able to critically examine how foods affect her, including new ones). If you are thinking about food you are in touch with your body, which means health. Food production is also central. Our economy depends on it (even if the workers are making t-shirts or missiles, they still have to eat). It is part of the education system, all workplaces, and more.
I need to teach my children to think critically about food so that they do not fall prey to all the misinformation and propaganda about nutrition that is so rampant today.
Because then when they see a giant walking Goldfish in the grocery store, they’ll think it’s “creepy” rather than delicious.
I think it is important to teach kids to think critically about food so they can be healthy and avoid all kinds of health related problems. Also, because they aren’t just going to know, especially if they are looking at what other kids are eating and at all the marketing.
If we, as parents, don’t do our job to teach kids to think critically about food (or anything else!), who will? At school, they are given a choice between Uncrustables and pizza. On television, they see the flashy commercials for processed, sugary cereals or the latest toy in the Happy Meal. Most of their friends on the SAD diet. Someone has to step up!
Oh, so many reasons to learn to think critically about food! But one that comes to mind is because it really makes a difference. It makes a difference in what they eat, which makes a difference in how they feel and grow, which makes a difference in what they can do in this world. It’s a very empowering thing for a child to know that they can make a positive difference in this world and that their voices are heard. As is yours, Christina! Congrats on 6 months!
Because our food system is central to so many things in our life: our health, the environment, etc. If you get kids started off on the right foot, they’ll have the tools to make good decisions when they are older.
Throughout history, benevolent and evil geniuses alike have always looked to the youth to bring about societal change as those youth grow to adulthood. If we want to see a major shift in the way our society thinks about their food, we must start with our children. We’re seeing the negative side of that right now with our current food and ag. industry situation.
Teaching children to think critically about their food is important for so many reasons. As most of us have most likely experienced its incredibly hard to change your ways when you’ve become set and somewhat rigid – especially when that involves yummy but not healthy food. Starting kids off on the right foot and giving them background info more than “because mommy says so” means they won’t need to make this major life change – hopefully they’ll be on the right track right away. An obvious response is that children’s tiny bodies are still developing in numerous ways and why not aide that process positively by feeding them well and again, giving them background info on why so that they can carry that through life. The last reason that comes to mind may sound cliche but “the children are our future”. If many of us care so deeply about the issue of food quality and consumption and we each have two kids raised with the same opinions and knowledge that’s twice as many in the future. Kids who can potentially grow up caring about this topic and choose careers and make major life decisions in line with it.
We really are what we eat, but in this day of fast food and such I think that we forget that.
If our kids can make good food choices from an early stage and continue to think critically about those choices as they grow, they will be able to learn better in school, function better in life. Who wouldn’t want to help their child reach their maximum potential? If we don’t do it as parents, they will either never learn it or may have to learn it the hard way later in life…
To learn about food is essential to one’s health and well-being!
We must teach our children to think about good food choices because there are lots of people trying to get them to want bad foods such as fast food restaurants, soda pop companies and candy stores.
sadly, because a lot of commercially available food is toxic. if you don’t teach your kids to think about what they eat, they consume too many toxins. i have no interest in burying my kids. would love to win omnivore’s dilemma. congrats on the milestone, thanks for all you do!
Children are growing up in a world of fake food – and it is already showing its affects as child obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
They need to know about real food, how it is grown and how to prepare it.
For their health and the health of the Earth, they will need to become stewards of the land through farming, or supporting farmers who provide the food and care for the land.
It’s important that kids know the difference between food and food product. We’re constantly battling to teach our kids how food feeds/grows the body, not just fills you up. We started a garden this year and while we didn’t grow much (we tried!) we wanted the kids to appreciate the wonder of food growing and to connect that to what they eat every day.
Wow. I have been studying so much about food and what it does to our bodies. I have RA so you can bet I eat a really good diet! It makes such a difference. My hubby has had a heart attack and it isn’t because of weight, either, so we are really into this whole situation. Now I am after my kids, too. They are both grown but my son still lives with me so I have some influence on what he eats when he is home. I buy organic, cook from scratch and do whatever I can to help us all stay healthy. We even buy foods for our daughter’s family and the grandbabies because I am on a mission to get everyone eating healthy. They do pretty well, too. We know it determines how you feel, how much energy you have, and your future health. I can see how daily choices affect you or your family so when you have a family it is your duty to do the best you can. Food is fuel and body repair and builder, not for what tastes best and I try to let them know this and that it determines how they look, feel and the same for the future. I probably drive them nuts!
(I am not entering for this book, which I really like, because my neighbor had let me borrow hers, and I have read it. She even grows her own wheat grass and we confer about food all the time.)
Thanks! Just entering for the pjs for my granddaughter, who could so use some!
I would love the book becasue I would like for my boys – who live on our farm and work and eat what we produce – but are still tempted by soft drinks and sugar to start GETTING IT for themselves!
Why do I teach my girls to think critically about food? There is a lot of garbage, or “non-food”, out there on the market. They get bombarded by images, songs, videos, and peer pressure for “snacks” and “treats” and “goodies”…but almost universally these are items that have little to no nutritional value, that are a concentrated source of empty calories, and provide little more than too much fat, sugar, fake flavorings or colorings, and so forth.
By teaching my kids to think critically about food, I’m providing them with the tools to counter the slick big-business multimedia blitz. Does that mean that my kids will be immune to so-called non-nutritional food that is genetically modified, full of artificial ingredients, or that has to be trucked so far that it is picked before it even ripens? No. But if I teach them what a real home-grown tomato tastes like, and if I cultivate their taste for quality food and ingredients, I hope that they’ll not only learn to appreciate but also to seek out quality foods as they get older.
I also think that if they learn that eating 90% good food and 10% “junk” (which is our family rule), they will always be able to keep a reasonable balance in their lives.
It is important to teach children to think critically about food for at least two reasons. Food is perhaps the most basic choice that children can make and as such they should understand and be involved in decisions that effect their health and well being. It is a choice that ties them to environmental health and the natural world in a primary way.
The second reason is that unfortunately if children do not think critically about food choices, there are numerous powerful interests who will make those choices for them. School systems, corporations, and even well meaning parents all have their own agendas not all of which are about health or environmental sustainability and as children citizens need to be shown by example and through critical education opportunities that some choices are better then others.
We need to teach children to think critically about foods because too many kids today just eat what is advertised to them or what they think tastes good,which is usually junk. We need kids to be able to think about their food as a tool that will help them grow up healthy and strong.
Because a good diet helps you be healthy.
I’d love those Sweet Pea PJs.. I call my twins my sweet peas 🙂
I grew up in a family who ate fried and fatty foods and I have a family with heart disease to show for it. So I’m trying to break the cycle and teach my kids the importance of healthy things going into our bodies. Thanks.
so they get taught before being swayed by advertising, etc.
Thanks so much to everyone who participated. The two winners have been notified, but you can read the announcement here. That post also mentions the fact that Jamie Oliver named Spoonfed one of his blogs of the month. He even talks about it in his video newsletter. Very cool.