10 Simple Acts

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  1. Teach your children to cook. Find age-appropriate cooking tasks. Buy your kids a kids cookbook, an apron and a wooden spoon. Let them choose a recipe and help or be in charge of a meal (with your help).
  2. Have a family meal with no TV/computer/phones and engage your children in a discussion about the food that they are eating.Make the dinner table a media-free zone.  Depending on your child’s age, ask questions like:
    • What is your favourite food? Why?
    • Have you seen any advertisements for food today? What were they for? Do you think that’s a healthy choice?
    • Can you name all the food on your plate?
    • How do the different foods on your plate grow?
    • What are the different food groups? Can you tell me which items belong in which food group?
  3. Start a garden with your children. Make them responsible for one plant so they can watch it grow and feel proud (try plants that are easy to grow, like peas). Read them a book about gardening, such as Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Sharon Lovejoy. Talk to your kids about composting, and find out if your local community centre or school has a worm-composting program you can visit.
  4. Read a book about good food, nutrition, or farming to your children. Check your local bookstore or library or try the following suggestions: Good Enough to Eat: A Kid’s Guide to Food and Nutrition, by Lizzy Rockwell; The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food by Jan Berenstain; The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons; and The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin.
  5. Pick a kid-friendly food-related outing. Visit a local farmers market, farm or community garden. Go apple or berry picking with your children (check Pick Your Own to find a farmer near you). Go for a nature walk and teach your children about wild edibles. Alternatively, have a farmer over for dinner.  Check the Harvest Ontario website for ideas, or look at our Resources page for more information on what’s going on in your region.
  6. At the grocery store or farmers’ market, talk to your children about the difference between processed and whole foods, organic foods and non-organic, fair-trade and non fair-trade, free-range and battery cage eggs, and then ask them to make choices.
  7. One day a week, make a local meal with your family with local seasonal ingredients. Check out Foodland Ontario’s Availability Guide and get inspired by the blog Seasonal Ontario Food or The Stop’s seasonal cookbook Good Food for All.
  8. Have a party for your kids and their friends where you encourage them to play with food, have fun, food-related activities and teach them about healthy eating. Play Kids Cafe, make a healthy food quiz, bob for Ontario apples, let them make their own pizza (and get them to name all the toppings), have a taste and smell station and ask them to identify different foods.
  9. Volunteer at a school lunch program. Ask your neighbourhood school or contact your local health unit.
  10. The provincial elections are coming up in October – hold an elections event with other parents to discuss your candidates’ food policies. Write letters or call your local politician. Look out for our elections toolkit!