Teach Kids Good Eating Habits is ImportantMonday, July 15
For the third year I was asked to work alongside the Edmonton Oilers young prospects during their weeklong development camp.
I don’t want to be the guy to give away all of the Oilers development plans and let other teams in on their secret, but I will say their plan extends far beyond drills on the ice. Over the years the organization has come to realize the value of working hand in hand with these players to help them to mature into respectable men. Gone are the days of arriving at training camp overweight and out of shape.
Now it is expected that athletes are training year round and spending their time in the off-season to continue to develop their game. The expectations are so high that there remains little time for these young athletes to grow up as normal teenagers would.
The team has taken the initiative to spend a great deal of time and energy on helping their young athletes develop other valuable life skills. They have taken it upon themselves to help mentor the players on their diet and nutritional choices.
They have even brought us in to help teach them some basic cooking skills. It amazes me just how engaged these young players are about taking all of this information in. These kids clearly understand the high pressure that is on them to perform and they are committed to doing whatever they need to in order to succeed.
These players are not that much different than our families are. With moms and dads so focused on their busy lives and so afraid to actually get their kids to do any chores, how prepared are our kids for their departure from the nest and the tough life decisions they will need to face?
By doing their laundry for them or piling dishes into the dishwasher, or worse still, ordering takeout night after night, are we really giving this generation the tools they need to grow up well rounded individuals, or are we setting them up for thinking that everyone wins in life.
I say stop coddling your children and start teaching them some values and principles. I am not endorsing child labour or sweat shops, I am merely saying there is nothing wrong with a teenager having a part-time job so he can learn how difficult it is to earn money. There is nothing wrong with teaching them how to do their own laundry. More than anything, teach them a thing or two about cooking.
You don’t need to be Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray to do it either. No matter how good or bad you are in the kitchen you must know at least a few basic recipes or dishes you can fall back on.Take the time to prepare them with your children. Chances are they will actually enjoy working alongside mom or dad and learn a few things along the way. I am so thankful my parents instilled in me the value of hard work and encouraged me to become independent.
Remember, your children will develop their eating habits at a very early age and the choices you make at meal time have a far greater impact than you may consider at the time.
Try to have a salad or vegetable with every meal, even if it’s a simple one. I am by no means preaching to never order pizza or cave and have takeout. I am of the mindset that if you make it a bad thing they will tend to want it more. Rather I would encourage you to teach your children about balance and moderation. Having the occasional burger or slice of pizza isn’t going to kill you, but making those types of choices a habit just might.
Here is a delicious dessert or breakfast dish that one of the young teams prepared. I have tweaked it slightly for you to make at home.
Belgian Waffles with House Made Nutella, Greek Yoghurt and Fresh Berries
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Special Tools: Waffle maker, food processor
This dish is fun and fairly simple to make. If you don’t have a waffle maker anddon’t want the hassle, pick up some good quality waffles and reheat them. You can even skip out on the house-made Nutella if you would rather. That would make this recipe extremely simple to make, but I like the idea of knowing what is going into my meals, and preparing this myself allows me to do so.
House Made Nutella
2 cups hazelnuts, skinned
¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup heavy cream
•Preheat the oven to 350F
•Spread out the nuts on a baking sheet and roast until deep brown, 13-15minutes, shaking occasionally to allow even roasting, cool completely
•Grind hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor until a fairly smooth,buttery paste forms, about 1 minute
•Place chocolate in a medium metal bowl, place over a double boiler and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth
•Remove from heat, add the butter, and whisk until completely incorporated
•Whisk in cream, salt, and then hazelnut paste
•Pour into sterilized glass jars and let cool
•Once cooled cover with a lid and refrigerate, it can be stored up to four weeks
Waffles (makes 8!)
1 cup flour
2 tsp.baking powder
1 egg, separated
¼ cup canola oil
1 cup milk
•Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl
•Beat egg whites until stiff
•Mix together the egg yolks, milk, and oil, stirring slightly
•Add to dry ingredients and mix well
•Fold in egg whites until combined
•Bake in waffle iron, ensuring they are golden brown before removing 2 cups mixed berries
1 cup Greek yogurt
•Smear the Nutella onto the waffles, Cut into four wedges
•Stack the waffles onto one another
•Top with fresh berries and drizzle with yoghurt