His sous chefs may be a bit smaller than he’s used to, but Chef Art Smith says their knowledge of healthy eating is more important than ever.
“Kids love to cook and most importantly they love to eat. And we have found if you engage your kids in cooking they not only learn to make better choices, but they in turn go home and help their family make better choices when they cook,” Smith said.
Experts say one in three American kids is overweight or obese, and facing a slew of obesity-related health problems.
It’s trend which could easily turn with a little food education: 38 Chicago Public School preschoolers from Ogden Elementary got that hands on lesson Wednesday and a little exercise courtesy of the stars from Disney on Ice and the Peninsula Hotel’s ice rink..
A surprise visit from the Mickey mouse himself helped make the day special, and show students you can have fun and be healthy.
“Nobody likes lonely food, OK. Engage with your child at dinnertime, sit at the table. We all love our computers, our smartphones, and everything but they’re not meant to be at the table, and really, really work with your children, sit down with them eat with them and you’ll find that your kids will eat much better,” Smith said.
Chef Smith is the founder of Common Threads, A Chicago-based organization which has been teaching healthy cooking to at-risk kids for a decade. He says kids need to learn by example.
“Kids do what they see,” Smith said. “If a parent is concerned about the way a child eats, look at the way they eat.”