COVID-19: Tips on healthy eating for kids at home from Vancouver nutritionist Erika Weissenborn

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      A family that cooks together eats healthier.

      That’s a message from Vancouver nutritionist Erika Weissenborn as many parents and their children are at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Weissenborn is also an entreprenuer and the founder of Fresh in Your Fridge, a custom meal preparation and home-cooking service.

      The Georgia Straight sought out the UBC-educated nutrition expert to ask how parents can ensure that their kids are eating healthy during this global crisis.

      The first thing Weissenborn mentions is the value of “getting everyone in the family in the kitchen together”.

      “Anytime we make something in our own kitchen, I would say it’s 10 times healthier, 100 times healthier than anything you'll get out of the package,” Weissenborn said in a phone interview.

      “Even if it's chocolate chip cookies, or even if it's macaroni and cheese, or pizza, whatever, if we're making it from scratch, it’s always going to be better quality than something coming just from a box,” she continued.

      With families digging through their pantries as they hunker down at home to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Weissenborn suggested that this is “more of a time to be trying recipes together”.

      According to her, this could work wonders especially with kids who are picky with food.

      “If children are involved in the cooking process, they are more likely to eat something than if it's just put on their plate,” Weissenborn said.

      In terms of planning meals, Weissenborn suggested that it may be better for families to “take stock more of what we have in our pantry, instead of just going to the grocery store every day and saying, ‘Oh, what do I want to eat?”.

      “So let's say you have a ton of quinoa, maybe, you know looking up recipes that are related to quinoa,” she said.

      It’s also a good time to more creative with recipes.

      "We probably won't have all of the ingredients,” said Weissenborn, referring to items that may be low in supply because of delivery challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Food can also help in the way families structure their daily lives while they stay at home.

      With school out, kids may have a new schedule,and they may probably get a “reward” for sticking to their plans.

      “They get one cookie per day versus like having food as sort of a free-for-all in the house,” Weissenborn said by way of an example.

      Kids like to eat a lot of sweets,and letting them eat sweets to a point may not be bad.

      “I'll go back to what I said at the beginning. Having snacks that you made yourself are always best, and not have as much sugar and not be as unhealthy as something from a package,” Weissenborn said.