5B45

How to turn mealtime into a brain building activity for young children

Oct 11, 2021, 8:44 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Eating foods loaded with vitamins and nutrients is important for brain development in young children, but child education experts say there’s even more you can do in the kitchen to make it a meaningful experience.

When Rachel Wright drops off her two sons at daycare, she knows they’re in good hands.

“I don’t have to worry about trying to pack in the lunch or have a snack ready,” she said.

Their day starts with a nutritious meal.

Jessica Lloyd, owner of the Creative Learning Academy of Utah, said healthy food helps children focus.

They try to serve lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid processed meat and make everything homemade.

“It opens up their brain to be able to learn and to interact,” she explained.

She said it can also play an important part in brain development.

“Their brains are just ready to pick up whatever we have for them,” Lloyd said.

She encouraged parents to talk with their kids at mealtimes.

“Talking about how it’s made, where it comes from,” she suggested. “The texture, the taste, the color, the shape, and then just encouraging them, you know, ‘You might not think you like it, but have you tried it?’”

Wright practices pronouncing and reading letters and words on food packaging with her 3-year-old, Max.

“We were just eating some Cheerios and he I was just pointing at letters and he was like ‘the A says Ah,’” she recalled.

Wright was impressed by his growth.

“I was completely blown away at how he was getting them off a random package!” she said laughing.

Lloyd encouraged parents to read recipes together with their children.

“These letters form words and that tells mom what to do,” she explained.

She said cooking or baking together is also a good opportunity to practice counting with your child.

“There’s so much you can do with math with cooking,” Lloyd said. “This is one cup, and a half a cup is half of that, like even just those conversations.”

It can even be a form of play.

Wright pulled out baking kits with her children this summer in the kitchen. She said her boys loved it.

“[The] kitchen ends up being a disaster, but they have a blast,” she said.

Lloyd told parents to let their children them help plan and shop for meals.

“Giving them a voice and a choice in that process is really important,” she explained.

She said preparing or sharing meals together is one of the best forms of love and is a great way to create meaningful memories.

“Because we’re teaching them how to take care of their bodies and we’re also pouring love into the food we’re making,” she said.

Wright is grateful for the experiences she’s had in the kitchen with her own boys.

“They are just, you know, the light of my life. They just have brought so much joy,” she said.

For more ideas on how to make eating healthy meals fun and engaging for your kids, visit the 5B45 website.

KSL 5 TV Live

5B45

Sylvia Lam with her children. (KSL TV)...

Aley Davis

Free Sparkler app helps Utah parents track their young child’s developmental milestones

It’s well known parenthood doesn't come with an instruction manual — or at least it hasn't, until now. The Help Me Grow Utah program introduced a new app to help parents along the way.

17 days ago

Alyssa McBride is the mother of three children. After her youngest son, Jack, was born, she started...

Aley Davis

Teaching children to regulate emotions early is essential to future success, experts say 

Teaching kids how to regulate emotions early is essential to future success.

2 months ago

The Department of Cultural and Community Engagement's STEM for Milo + Friends....

Debbie Worthen

Utah STEM program aims to help parents prepare children for success with conversation cards

When it comes to preparing your child for kindergarten, there is one score that experts now say can determine all kinds of life success, and it's not reading. It's math.

4 months ago

An educator reading to young kids at the Salt Lake City Library....

Debbie Worthen

Experts say 1,000 books before kindergarten helps develop a love for reading

A Utah program is aiming to foster an appreciation for literature for early cognitive development by getting kids to read 1,000 books before kindergarten.

5 months ago

For every parent of young kids, it's no secret, "sharing" isn't something that comes naturally for ...

Debbie Worthen

For children, sharing isn’t easy, but it’s an important part in their social development

For every parent of young kids, it's no secret, "sharing" isn't something that comes naturally for most children. But it's an important part of their social development.

6 months ago

Meghan Ballard shows her three-year-old games on the IPad....

Ashley Moser

Balancing screen time with small children: Consider content, not time experts say

When it comes to letting your young children use iPads, computers, or your phone, how much technology is too much? 

11 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

How to turn mealtime into a brain building activity for young children