Newsletter, January 2014

For those of you who know me by now, I am always inspired in the beginning of the year (normally I’ve run out of juice by October). Little Cooks Club is in its 8th year now with 18 franchisees around the country – I am truly blessed to have such lovely ladies on board to teach your children about food and cooking. Think of these ladies as your personal home assistants. Get them to train your domestics on healthy meals, making lunch boxes and keeping your kids healthy and passionate about food.

Back to School

One way that parents can help their children be successful in school is by creating routines that promote healthy habits, including healthy sleep, good nutrition and getting enough physical activity.

Healthy Sleep and Bedtime Routine

Research has shown that getting enough sleep effects every aspect of a child’s well being – physical, social and emotional development. The recommended amount of sleep for children is based on their age. Ages 1-3 need about 12-14 hours; 3-5 need 11-13 hours; and children ages 6-12 need 10-11 hours. Some things you can do to establish healthy sleeping habits are:

  • Set a consistent bedtime routine, such as taking a bath, brushing teeth, reading a story, and listening to soft music.
  • Make child’s bedroom conducive to sleep – dark, cool and quiet.
  • Keep TV and computers out of the bedroom.
  • Avoid caffeine.

Good Nutrition

Studies show positive links between nutrition and brain development, cognitive function, curiosity, behavior, and communication and social skills. Encouraging healthy eating habits now can positively affect your children’s’ lifelong relationship with food. A few simple tips to remember:

  • Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.
  • Provide calm, pleasant mealtimes where the family can talk together.
  • Explore a variety of flavors and foods.

Adequate Physical Activity

The rise in obesity in children is correlated with a decrease in activity. Television, computers, and other electronic devices have impacted how sedentary our children are. Except when asleep, children should not be sedentary for more that an hour at a time to avoid a negative impact. Setting a routine of daily activity is one of the best ways to create this habit for your children.

  • Go on a walk after dinner.
  • Set aside a specific time to exercise each day.
  • Create healthy boundaries for screen time.

At School Programme

Our At School Programme has become very popular. We are running our Spade to Spatula programme in the schools and children are learning so many beneficial things from growing food to preparing and eating it. If you feel that Little Cooks Club should be in your school, speak to your head mistress and contact your nearest Little Cooks Club representative and see if she can do a demo in your school.

Family Focus

What I would like to focus on this year is healthy eating in your homes. Dinnertime, for example.

Personally, I am finding myself in a rut on dinners at the moment and so tired of my own food and everything from Woolworths. From February, I will do something very similar to what I did for the healthy lunch boxes but for easy dinners at home – MOMS COOKING SOMETHING NEW TONIGHT. Children are not too adventurous with this concept, so what I tell my kids is “just try it, I’ve cooked it and if you don’t like it we wont do it again – but you have to eat it tonight…” Most of the recipes in my cook book the children do like and do eat. Those are the good old trusties. This year, let’s try and get hooked on some new dishes.

Share Your Recipes
If you have some great family recipes that you and your family enjoy, please send them through; I will put them on the website for everyone to see. Let’s help each other out and beat the boredom.

Kids in the Kitchen & Busy Schedules

I’m sure there are many of you whose lives are insanely busy with your children’s schedules. I find we are missing a few of the fundamental basics in our family life because of this.

My other goal this year, and will send some recipes for this too, is Sunday lunches. It’s the one day of the week you are all together, so I have told my girls that its going to be a compulsory task to help mom prepare and cook a Sunday sit-down lunch/dinner. Main course and dessert. I think it’s an important skill for children to know the basics. To be able to make something for breakfast and their own easy lunch. Its empowering and essential in life.

Snack Platter for Kids

Having children over for a play date? Here is a great little snack platter for them:

Fill these healthy red snacks into a muffin tin. All packed with powerful antioxidants.

  • Red Apples
  • Cherries
  • Dried Gogi Berries
  • Radishes
  • Raspberries
  • Red Peppers
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Watermelon
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Red grapes
  • Strawberries

Parties at Little Cooks Club

Due to the huge demand for our awesome parties, please plan your children’s parties in advance – about 3 months in advance. They are so popular and we want your child to enjoy the experience and have the best day ever.

The party themes are:

  • Spade to Spatula – planting and cooking
  • Whisks and Wooden Spoons – preparing one healthy delight and one naughty
  • Kids vs Kitchen – team building challenges with prizes
  • Liquorice and Lime – mystery baskets and tastings with prizes
  • Frosting and Fondant – cake pops and cake decorating

Our parties are very personalized and special; we put so much emphasis on the children and what they are learning. Book in advance, as our parties are extremely popular. Some of the franchisees make the most beautiful cakes and cake pops if you would like to place your orders with them.

Timeless Family Food Journal

Please order online (www.timelessfamilyfoodjournal.co.za). Only R350 for a book that will last a lifetime. The recipes are fantastic and the children are really enjoying making the book their own with illustrations, pasting in pictures, and moms adding notes and treasured memories. It’s perfect for ages 2 to 14 years and a must have in every home. It contains some great holiday ideas on what to make from soaps and body scrubs to paint and playdough.

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