OKCIC promotes ways for families to stay nourished together.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, wants children to learn about nutrition while building skills in the kitchen.
National Nutrition Month is observed in March to encourage healthy eating habits. An easy way to get children excited about nutrition is by preparing healthy meals together.
“We want to include our children in our meals,” said Michaela Parrott, OKCIC’s Pediatric Dietitian. “It can help them build skills, gain confidence and help them to be adventurous eaters.”
Not every kitchen task is appropriate for young children. Here are some ways that kids can help out while staying safe.
- 2 years old: At this age, kids can wipe down surfaces, hand items to adults, throw things in the trash and make silly faces out of fruits and vegetables.
- 3 years old: 3 year olds can add and stir ingredients, knead and shape dough, and name and count foods.
- 4 years old: Kids at this age can peel eggs, set the table, crack eggs and measure dry ingredients
- 5 years old: At this age, kids can measure liquids, use an egg beater and cut soft fruits with a kid-safe dull knife.
- 6-7 years old: Kids this age can peel washed fruits and vegetables using a peeler, deseed peppers and tomatoes with a spoon, snap green beans, load the dishwasher, shuck and rinse corn, and rinse and cut green onions with blunt kitchen scissors.
- 8-9 years old: This age group can open cans using a can opener, pack and refrigerate leftovers, pound chicken on a cutting board, juice a lemon or orange, and check the temperature of meat using a food thermometer.
- 10-12 years old: At this age, kids can boil pasta, microwave foods, follow a recipe, bake foods in the oven, simmer ingredients on the stove and chop vegetables.
“Children can have wide skill ranges,” Parrott said. “Remember to tailor tasks to your child’s maturity level, and always stay close by to supervise.”
Before cooking a meal, teach kids some basic food safety rules. Take turns washing your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds and teach them to wait until the food is finished before tasting it, especially when working with raw foods.
Learning about food safety, kitchen skills and nutrition doesn’t have to stay in your home kitchen. OKCIC offers Kids in the Kitchen programs for pediatric patients. Find information about becoming a patient here: http://okcic.com/appointments/new-patient/
About Oklahoma City Indian Clinic
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic was established in 1974 to provide excellent health care and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma. The clinic staff cares for nearly 23,000 patients from over 200 federally recognized tribes every year. American Indians can receive a range of services, including medical, dental, pediatrics, prenatal, pharmacy, optometry, physical fitness, nutrition, family programs and behavioral health services. For more information, please call (405) 948-4900 or visit www.okcic.com.